Mall collapse kills one, traps dozens in South Africa

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Originally published on November 20, 2013

One person was killed and dozens were trapped under rubble when a half-constructed mall collapsed in Tongaat, north of the South African city of Durban, on Tuesday (November 19).

Some eyewitnesses said they saw workers taking down scaffolding before the collapse. One nearby resident, Fiona Moonean, said she was washing dishes in her kitchen when collapse occurred at around 4:30 p.m. local time. According to Moonean, the smoke from the building looked as if someone had put dynamite in the structure. About 200 metres of concrete slab collapsed all at the same time.

Municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said at least 24 people are still unaccounted for.

Nightfall hampered rescue efforts, as rescue crews and police used dogs and fibre-optic cables to determine where survivors might be trapped.

It is not known what caused the collapse, but there have been unconfirmed reports that there were structural issues with the building.

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