George building collapse death toll rises to five as 50 remain trapped in rubble

The tragic collapse of a five-story building under construction in George, Western Cape, has claimed the lives of five people, with the death toll expected to rise as rescue efforts continue. 

The incident, which occurred on Monday afternoon, has left the community in shock and mourning.

Construction workers were trapped beneath the rubble when the building on Victoria Street suddenly collapsed. 

Access to the area was immediately restricted, and the George Municipality closed its main building as a safety precaution.

“It is important to understand that there is a lot of pressure, a lot of tension from what has been a very long night for all of the families,” said Anton Bredell, Western Cape local government minister, acknowledging the emotional toll of the tragedy. 

“We thank all the volunteers and Gift of the Givers for assisting and helping us.”

Rescue operations continued throughout the night, with reports of voices heard from beneath the debris offering a glimmer of hope. 

George Mayor Leon van Wyk described the scene, stating, “We were told to be quiet and to switch off any equipment because the rescuers were talking to somebody under the rubble and trying to remove parts of the debris to get to the person or persons trapped.”

Despite the tireless efforts of rescue teams, the situation remains critical.  As of Tuesday morning, at least 24 people have been rescued, but approximately 50 workers are still believed to be trapped beneath the wreckage. 

The cause of the collapse remains under investigation, with authorities focusing on ensuring the safety of the site and providing support to the affected families.

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