Construction accident traps workers in collapsed South African building

A multi-story apartment building that was under construction collapsed Monday in the coastal city of George, injuring at least 22 workers and trapping more than 40 others in the rubble, authorities said. The injured workers were taken to a hospital, but authorities did not immediately provide details of their injuries. South African media reported that at least five workers had sustained serious injuries. Local media reports said at least 59 people were trapped under the rubble after the collapse of what appeared to be a multi-story apartment block that was being built. The reports said 10 people had been rescued, with five sustaining serious injuries. The building collapsed just after 2 p.m. in the city of George, about 250 miles east of Cape Town on South Africa’s south coast. The George Municipality said in a statement that its emergency services, ambulances and police were responding to the building collapse. The building was located close to the municipal offices, it said. It said there were multiple injuries but did not give any more details. George Municipality spokesperson Ntobeko Mangqwengqwe told the News24 media outlet that the structure looked like it had four or five stories. “At the moment, we don’t have the exact number of injuries,” Mangqwengqwe said. “Our emergency personnel and local ambulances are on site.” The provincial Western Cape government said it was closely monitoring the situation and had sent resources to assist city authorities with the emergency response. “All the necessary support has been offered to emergency personnel to expedite their response. At the moment, officials are focused on saving lives. This is our top priority at this stage,” Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, the head of the government, said in a statement. The national government was being briefed, Winde said.