Strong winds rip facade off hotel wall

2010-08-11 00:00

THE collapse of the facade of a brick wall in Durban yesterday has been blamed on excessively strong winds.

The outer skin of a wall at the recently refurbished Tropicana Hotel fell on to the street yesterday afternoon, damaging eight cars and injuring a passer-by.

Said Wisani Maluleke, a forecaster with the King Shaka Airport weather office, “Since the morning there have been strong winds in Durban, with the wind speed ranging from 20-30 knots and reaching 30-40 knots at times.”

This means that winds have been reaching near-gale strength.

“We are still trying to establish exactly what happened, but it looks as if the wind caused the damage to the wall,” said Tropicana Hotel spokesperson Gavin Castleman.

Maluleke said it is possible the collapse was caused by the wind.

Castleman said the owners of the damaged cars have been referred to the hotel’s insurance company. In a statement, he said the excessively strong winds resulted in bricks being pulled off the side of the building in Anton Lembede Street.

He said the hotel has already had contact with the engineers and insurance loss adjusters and is awaiting their reports.

“This has been deemed an act of God,” said Castleman.

Gail McCann, the hotel’s general manager of sales and marketing, said the angle of the wind in an alleyway between two buildings was to blame.

“The wind was terrible. Fortunately no one was seriously injured, although one passer-by was slightly injured from falling debris and shaken up by the incident.”

Jeff Wicks of Netcare911 said paramedics treated the man on site and took him to hospital.

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