At least seven people were killed and three were missing after a cliff collapsed onto boats carrying tourists on a lake in Brazil, authorities said Saturday.
Rescue teams including a dive squad and members of the Brazilian Navy rushed to Furnas Lake in Minas Gerais state, where panicked tourists had watched helplessly as a large rock fragment broke off a ravine and plunged atop three boats.
The latest official toll is “seven dead and three missing,” Minas Gerais firefighters’ spokesman Pedro Aihara said on Saturday night.
Another 32 were wounded, including nine who had to be hospitalized, authorities said.
Firefighters had initially reported 20 missing, but “that number was substantially reduced because a good part of the victims who were unaccounted for were people who moved by their own means to hospitals,” Aihara said in a voice message sent to reporters.
Tourists flock to see the rock walls, caverns and waterfalls that surround the green waters of Lake Furnas, formed by the hydroelectric dam of the same name.
Dramatic videos shared on social networks caught the exact moment when the cliff fell on the three boats.
Another video posted on social media shows the minute before the fall, in which several people warn that “lots of stones are falling” and yell at the occupants of the other boats to move away from the wall.
President Jair Bolsonaro retweeted some of these videos on his account, and reported that “as soon as the unfortunate disaster occurred, the Brazilian Navy moved to the site to rescue victims and transport the injured.”
The divers’ search will be interrupted overnight for safety reasons and resumed in the morning, but other rescuers continue to work at the site.
Very heavy rain has fallen in recent days in southeastern Brazil, making the collapse more likely, according to firefighters.
“The tribunal began formal interviews with witnesses from Tuesday, 16th November 2021, in order to identify the roles played in the activities that led to the collapse of the building and received the report from the consultants who conducted verticality tests on the remaining structures standing in the premises of the collapsed building. The results of the tests on the construction materials are still being awaited,” Ayinde said.
“The interviews conducted have been recorded for the purpose of record-keeping, and the tribunal would meet as many as are willing to present credible and factual statements, with evidence(s), relating to the collapse.
“The tribunal’s mode of communication would be to brief the media through press releases as and when required, so that the public may be aware of the conduct of the proceedings. As we proceed, we expect your cooperation and we hope that we will, together with all stakeholders, be able to solve this problem on a permanent basis.”
The tribunal which consists of six professionals in the private sector was set up by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and began sitting immediately after its inauguration on Thursday, November 4.
See the press statement issued by the Tribunal below:
FIRST PRESS CONFERENCE HELD BY THE TRIBUNAL OF INQUIRY INTO THE COLLAPSE OF THE 21-STOREY BUILDING AT 44 BCD, GERRARD ROAD, IKOYI ON MONDAY, 22ND NOVEMBER, 2021 AT THE SECRETARIAT OF THE TRIBUNAL, LASWA TERMINAL BUILDING, FIVE COWRIE CREEK, IKOYI-LAGOS
You will all recall the sad incident of the collapse of a 21-floor structure at 44 B,C,D Gerrard Road in Ikoyi area of Lagos State, where a number of our compatriots lost their lives. Our hearts go out to the bereaved families and we should at this point observe a moment’s silence in honour of these fellow citizens. We pray that God would repose the souls of the departed.
Following the unfortunate incident, the Governor of Lagos State inaugurated a 6-man Tribunal of Inquiry for the purpose of:
a) Determining the cause(s) of the collapse of the 21-storey building under construction;
b) Determining whether there was full compliance with the Physical Planning, building, building materials testing, Laws and regulations in Lagos State by the developer or by any other person;
c) Determining whether there was any supervisory, oversight or enforcement lapses on the part of any of the relevant regulatory authorities in the State;
d) Investigating and procuring from all listed professionals on the project their contracts of service, drawings, minutes of site meetings, schedules and all other relevant documents that may assist in the inquiry;
e) Investigating and conducting necessary tests on materials used for the construction of the collapsed building;
f) Obtaining and scrutinizing all project drawings and specifications filed and submitted by the Developer to the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development and its sister agencies for Building and Urban Development Permits/Approvals with respect to the collapsed building;
g) Making recommendations on how to best ensure the safety of the construction space and prevent building collapse in Lagos State, both for development of projects and to ensure an effective and efficient regulatory environment;
h) Recommending disciplinary action or prosecution of any person or corporate body found culpable, and
i) Investigating any other matters incidental to any of the Terms of Reference stated above.
The Tribunal was given 30 days to complete its task.
The purpose of this Press Conference is to apprise the Press, and the general public, of what the Tribunal has done so far, and what our activities are likely to be in the remaining days ahead.
The Tribunal which comprises six professionals in the private sector, and who are certified members of their professions, began sitting immediately after its inauguration on Thursday, 4th November, 2021. There may have been concerns or agitations about why the Tribunal has not spoken to the Press. We will like to state that members of the Tribunal are professionals, and our calling demands that we make statements from informed and verified positions. We are compelled to speak only when investigations have been made, reports and documents submitted, queried, analysed and discussions held with relevant stakeholders.
So far the activities of the Tribunal have included:
Setting up the Secretariat and arranging logistics for the successful conduct of activities;
A visit to the site of the collapse on Friday, 5th November, for a general assessment of the rescue operations, and to determine areas where expert consultants’ services would be required.
A visit to the General Hospital, Broad Street to interview some of the survivors who could offer some eyewitness accounts.
Engaging the services of consultant building materials testing laboratory for the purpose of addressing item (e) of the TOR;
Engaging the services of a consultant Land Surveyor to conduct verticality tests on the remaining structures within the premises of the collapsed building;
Writing the relevant Government MDA’s to request for all files and documentation relating to the collapsed building.
Writing to all consultants and developer/contractors associated with the project on 44 B,C,D Gerrard Road, Ikoyi; and
Listing more than 30 stakeholders relevant to the construction industry and the collapsed building, whose views, position papers and recommendations would be received and considered. Those that the Tribunal consider necessary to chat with would be invited.
PROCEDURE FOR TRIBUNAL SITTING
The Tribunal would like to state that some documents have been received from some government MDA’s and members have started studying them. We have also interviewed some of the LASG staff in the relevant MDA’s. We however appeal to members of the public, professional bodies and construction industry stakeholders, as well as individuals who have useful information and invite them to submit memoranda which have direct bearing on the particular issue being investigated, as well as their recommendations to prevent future occurrence.
This is where all memoranda, recommendations and submissions can be sent to on or before Wednesday, 24th November, 2021.
The Tribunal began formal interviews with witnesses from Tuesday, 16th November, 2021 in order to identify the roles played in the activities that led to the collapse of the building, and received the report from the consultants who conducted verticality tests on the remaining structures standing in the premises of the collapsed building. The results of the tests on the construction materials are still being awaited.
The interviews conducted have been recorded for the purpose of record-keeping, and the Tribunal would meet as many as are willing to present credible and factual statements, with evidence(s), relating to the collapse.
The Tribunal’s mode of communication would be to brief the Media through Press releases as and when required, so that the public may be aware of the conduct of the proceedings. As we proceed, we expect your cooperation and we hope that we will, together with all stakeholders, be able to solve this problem on a permanent basis.
The Lagos State Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) have differed on the casualties recorded from the Ikoyi building collapse as rescue efforts continue.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who visited the scene on Thursday, noted that 32 bodies have been recovered from the building collapse.
“As of this afternoon, we have recovered a total of 32 bodies. We are conducting a corona inquest on the bodies and by tomorrow (Friday), we hope the exercise would have been concluded,” the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, quoted his principal as saying.
“That is the deadline we gave to the corona so that the families can come and identify the bodies recovered so far.”
But earlier in the day, NEMA’s Acting Coordinator of the Lagos Territorial Office, Mr Ibrahim Farinloye had said 38 people were confirmed dead following the collapse of the high-rise, explaining that nine survivors – one female and eight male – were rescued from the rubble.
Amid continued rescue efforts, families and relatives are hanging around the collapsed structure in the high-brow area of Lagos State, waiting for news about their loved ones trapped in the building.
According to Governor Sanwo-Olu, some families have submitted names of missing people, just a day after a register was opened.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), we opened a register for people that have missing persons or loved ones whom they believed must have been at the site before the collapse,” the Lagos governor added in a statement by his aide.
“As I speak here, there are only 19 names of missing persons that have been registered. Some of them have pictures, others do not. This list would help us to get information on the manifest of those at the site.”
Before now, Sanwo-Olu had visited some of the survivors who are receiving treatment at the Lagos Island General Hospital.
One of the rescued persons has, however, been moved to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in Ikeja for advanced medical examination, the governor explained but assured that he is not having a life-threatening condition.
Three of the survivors have been discharged two days ago.
The building, which was under construction, collapsed on Monday with an unconfirmed number of persons feared trapped.
More people have been confirmed killed and more survivors rescued hours after a high-rise building collapsed in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State.
Channels Television had reported the incident which occurred on Monday afternoon along Gerrard Road in the commercial hub of the nation.
While four persons were killed and five others rescued as of Monday night, the death toll and number of survivors rose on Tuesday as rescue efforts continued through the night.
According to the spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), 16 more bodies have been recovered.
He added that five more persons trapped under the rubble have been rescued by emergency responders at the scene.
This brings the total figures of those killed and rescued so far to 20 and 10 respectively.
The Deputy Governor of Lagos, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, who visited the site amid tight security, explained that the premise of the collapsed building has been sealed by the government agency in charge of testing, for more investigation into the integrity of the structure.
Emergency workers have intensified rescue operations as more people are believed to be trapped under the rubble.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Lagos State Chapter, David Majekodunmi, also visited the site of the building collapse.
He lamented that unfortunate incidents such as this should not have happened if authorities had done what was expected of them.
“My first impression is that the country is in a mess. We are in a mess because if we have done what we are supposed to do, either on the private or government side, we wouldn’t be having this kind of incident.
“Like it’s said by (Femi) Falana, the renowned lawyer, about six or seven weeks precisely where we have all the allied professionals in the construction industry together, he said ‘we should stop talking about building collapse; go and search yourselves, what is your regulatory building doing? Your regulatory body is supposed to regulate things like this,” said Majekodunmi.
He added, “Looking at this, you can’t determine what is actually the cause of the collapse. In a nutshell, we are standing in front of the signage which is supposed to be a prerequisite at a site.
“You cannot see the name of the architect, the structural engineer, and other consultants. But there is so much going on on the platform where the number written on all these consultants happens to be the developer.
“I will tell you just a little history because the government has a big fault for this. In 1986, a National Building Code was drafted by all the professional bodies in the construction industry – seven of them. This National Building Code was not signed until 20 years after it was drafted.”
A church building has collapsed in Taraba State, killing two persons and injuring many worshippers. The church, Holy Ghost Church, is located in Chanchanji community, Takum Local Government Area of the state.
Chairman of Takum council, Shiban Tikari confirmed the incident to Channels Television via a phone conversation on Saturday.
The victims – Demenege James and Mwueze Terzunwe – were said to be worshipping in the church in Peva village before the building caved in.
He disclosed that the injured are receiving treatment at a primary health care centre within the community.
The project contractor handling a building that killed four persons and injured others on Wednesday has been arrested by the police in Abia state.
The state government arrested the suspect, Bassey Afokwalam who was initially on the run following the tragic incident.
This was confirmed by the Commissioner of Police, Janet Agbede, during an interview on Friday.
“The contractor, one Bassey Afokwalam has been arrested and owner of the building, Emmanuel Ohaka has been contracted,” she said.
“As at now, five yet to be identified dead bodies of two males and three females have been recovered while one male survivor who sustained minor injuries was rushed to the hospital, where he was treated and discharged,” she said.
“More efforts have been intensified to ensure proper evacuation of debris with a view to discovering possible victims, while investigation lasts.
“I wish to use this medium to advise members of the public to ensure that their building project is handled by qualified Architects Structural Engineers and other relevant contractors, this would minimize the occurrence of similar incidents in the future,” she said.
Channels Television learned that the building, located along Nnamdi Azikiwe Street in Aba, caved in two days ago
The death toll from the incident has risen to five.
At least ten people were killed in the collapse of a hotel used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in eastern China, authorities said Sunday.
Rescuers pulled 48 people from the rubble, of whom 38 are still alive, the Ministry of Emergency Management said on social media.
The building in the coastal city of Quanzhou had been repurposed to house people who recently had contact with patients confirmed with COVID-19, the state-run People’s Daily newspaper reported.
The city has recorded 47 cases of the virus.
Video posted online by the ministry’s firefighting department showed rescuers helping children don surgical masks before pulling them from the wreckage of the six-storey Xinjia hotel.
A 12-year-old boy told rescuers his mother was still buried in the rubble.
“She was next to me just now,” he said in the video. His mother was rescued alive hours later, according to the ministry.
Another video released by the ministry showed rescuers squirting water from a bottle into the mouth of a trapped man.
Rescuers were also seen spraying disinfectant on each other as part of “strict decontamination” measures between shifts.
Collapsed in Seconds
Footage published by local media appears to show the hotel collapsing in seconds, with the building’s facade crumbling to the ground, exposing the structure’s steel frame.
Nine people escaped on their own, the ministry said.
The first floor had been undergoing renovation since before the Lunar New Year holiday, and construction workers called the hotel’s owner minutes before the collapse to report a deformed pillar, authorities said.
The owner has been summoned by police while investigators work to determine whether the renovation or an original structural issue was at fault, according to the ministry.
Fifty-eight people who had recently been in regions hard hit by COVID-19 were being quarantined in the hotel but all had tested negative for the virus, local newspaper Quanzhou Evening News reported Sunday.
More than 800 rescuers and 750 medical staff were deployed for the rescue effort along with 20 ambulances, the ministry said.
China’s National Health Commission said it was sending to Quanzhou 18 medical experts from the nearby cities of Fuzhou and Xiamen.
Building collapses and other deadly construction accidents have typically been blamed on the country’s rapid economic growth, which has led to corner-cutting by builders and the flouting of safety rules.
At least 20 people died in 2016 when a series of crudely-constructed multi-story buildings packed with migrant workers collapsed in the eastern city of Wenzhou.
Another 10 were killed last year in Shanghai after the collapse of a commercial building during renovations.
The search for victims in the rubble of a collapsed building in southern Cambodia drew to a close Sunday with the final death toll at 36 — the latest tragedy in a string of deadly construction accidents.
Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen, said 23 people had been pulled alive from the rubble of the seven-storey hotel, which crumpled to the ground in seaside Kep on Friday afternoon.
On Sunday rescuers also managed to free a dog trapped in the debris.
“This is yet another tragedy,” said Hun Sen, who promised families of victims would get $50,000 each in compensation, while those injured would receive $20,000, he said.
He told reporters the contractor responsible for the construction had died in the accident, while the building’s owner had been detained.
The rescue effort lasted more 40 hours, mobilizing hundreds of soldiers and labourers using excavators, drills and power saws to clear concrete and cut through metal bars of the pancaked structure.
Cambodia is undergoing a construction boom, with hotels, high-rises and casinos springing up under little regulatory oversight.
The tough and often dangerous labour is undertaken by an estimated 200,000 construction workers, mostly unskilled, reliant on day wages and not protected by union rules, according to the International Labour Organisation.
Last June some 28 people died in the collapse of a building under construction in Sihanoukville, a beach town flush with Chinese investment that.
Worker advocacy groups point to low safety standards that raise the risk of accidents at construction sites — which often serve as the temporary homes for the labourers and their families.
Worker Ei Kosal told AFP on Saturday that he, his wife and two other women were having a meal on site when the building collapsed.
Their two companions were crushed.
“I did not expect to survive… it’s like I have just been reborn,” Kosal from the hospital.
Another building has collapsed in Lagos on Monday, March 25.
The building, a two-storey edifice collapsed midday on Lagos Island.
According to the Lagos State Management Agency (LASEMA), no one was trapped in the rubbles.
Occupants of the collapsed building have been exiting all apartments and shops attached to the building after the Lagos State building control agency marked the building for demolition last week Friday.
A few others were still moving their property when the building caved in.
An eyewitness told Channels Television that a few people were injured and taken to the hospital
Security operatives and emergency workers have arrived at the scene to ensure others residents are safe and that the rubles are disposed of properly.
The incident on Monday comes on the heels of a similar mishap which was recorded in the metropolis on Wednesday, March 13, when a three-storey building housing a school collapsed, trapping more than 100 persons, including pupils.
The ill-fated building was located on the crowded Ita-Faji street within the heart of Lagos Island.
Thousands of residents and many emergency workers descended on the scene and rescued many upon arrival, but some remained trapped and witnesses gave early death toll figures at eight to nine.
Lagos State Government (LASG) later confirmed that a total of 20 people were killed following the collapse of the three-storey building at Ita-Faaji.
The government thereafter set up a five-man panel to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the incident.
He explained that the terms of reference of the panel included proffering remedial measures to stem further building collapse in the future, as well as determining the level of negligence on the part of the developer or owner and the role of the state government.
Meanwhile, the commissioner of Ministry of Information & Strategy, Hon Kehinde Bamigbetan has said that LASG is working in line with best practices as it begins resettling of people displaced by the on-going demolitions of defective/distressed buildings in Lagos Island Area of the State.
The death toll from the collapse of an Istanbul apartment block rose to 10 on Thursday as more bodies were pulled from the rubble, Turkish authorities said.
The eight-storey building, which is located in the Kartal district on the Asian side of the city, collapsed on Wednesday but the cause is not yet clear.
Rescuers had initially put the death toll at two, but Istanbul governor Ali Yerlikaya said on Thursday the figure had leapt to 10 as more bodies were pulled from the rubble, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Another 13 people were injured, three of them seriously, he said.
As rescuers worked through the mountain of shattered concrete and twisted metal, which also crushed several nearby vehicles, they found a survivor on Thursday — a five-year-old girl