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MEDIA STATEMENT: 3pm Status Update – Building Collapse, Victoria Street – George, 10 May 2024, @ 15:00

Day four of the rescue response to the collapsed building located at 75 Victoria Street has the multi-agency command using demolition equipment to lift the concrete slabs currently obstructing access to the lower floors of the building site. The meticulous and skilled rescue response to date, which has allowed for the recovery of 40 persons of the 81 trapped workers has had to proceed carefully to avoid further collapse and injury.

The stability of the site is a threat to the safety of emergency personnel who have focused their efforts for the past 96 hours on rescue of as many trapped patients as is possible. The decision to switch to using heavy duty demolition equipment is not taken lightly. The demolition company has created a safe path to drive on over the site, filling in voids that have been thoroughly checked for any entrapped victims. Rescue techniques continue to be applied meticulously and sensitively at each phase.

Total estimated number on-site at the time of incident: 81
Patients retrieved: 40
Patients deceased: 12
Patients hospitalised: 33 with 13 still in hospital
Unaccounted: 41

Disaster management would also like to advise that currently there are enough volunteers on-site with names captured on a waiting list. The volunteer and donation response from the George community has been overwhelming and is commended and appreciated. We ask that the public please does not respond to any requests for volunteers on social media unless such notice is formally issued by the GRDM JOC and/or George Municipality,.

The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has declared the incident site at Victoria Street a No-Fly Zone. This restriction will be strictly enforced, and any individuals found violating it will be subject to criminal prosecution.

An update will be issued by 6pm on Friday 10 May 2024, – South African Time.
Photo by Herman Pieters, Garden Route Municipality