Death toll rises to 36 in building collapse

Source:AFP Published: 2020/1/5 22:03:43

Photo taken on Jan. 4, 2020 shows the site of a collapsed building in Kep city, Kep Province, Cambodia. Six died and 16 others were injured after an under-construction building collapsed here on Friday, a provincial spokesman said. (Xinhua/Mao Pengfei)

The search for victims in the rubble of a collapsed building in southern Cambodia drew to a close on Sunday with the final death toll at 36 - the latest tragedy in a string of deadly construction accidents. 

Prime Minister Hun Sen said 23 people had been pulled alive from the rubble of the seven-­story 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 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 than 40 hours, mobilizing hundreds of soldiers and laborers using excavators, drills and power saws to clear concrete and cut through metal bars of the pancaked structure.

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," said Kosal from the hospital. 

In June some 28 people died in the collapse of a building under construction in Sihanoukville.


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