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Officials Probe Deadly Garage Collapse

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

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The collapse of an under-construction four-story underground parking garage near a medical center in Tel Aviv, Israel, remained under investigation Tuesday (Sept. 6).

The structure collapsed around noon, Monday (Sept. 5), killing three and injuring at least 20 others. At least four people remained trapped Tuesday morning as hundreds of rescuers combed through the rubble, according to numerous media outlets, citing police officials.

Meanwhile, authorities fear another collapse could occur as the structure remains unstable. They have told reporters that rescue operations could continue several days.

An official cause of the collapse had not been identified Tuesday. CNN reports that details of the investigation are under “a court-issued gag order.”

A report on i24News indicates police have arrested a suspect in the garage collapse.

Rescue Effort Continues

The Israel Defense Forces are leading rescue efforts at the scene of the collapse. Search dogs and cell phone trackers were being used to pinpoint the location of those trapped in the rubble, reports relate.

Reports say the top three floors of the garage imploded, leaving a large, crater-like hole in the ground. One witness said the implosion felt like an earthquake.

Initial reports have speculated as to the cause. At least one indicated a crane may have been involved in the collapse. Another report said a construction vehicle may have driven over the incomplete parking garage, causing it to cave in.

Authorities said the collapse could have been even more deadly, as many workers were taking a lunch break above ground.

A Previous Collapse?

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that there may have been a collapse at the site two months ago. A concrete beam was said to have come down at the site, injuring two workers, Haaretz reported.

Citing police, the Haaretz report said supervisors failed to access the scene and work was allowed to continue at the site.

Meanwhile, the country’s Economy Ministry, said it had not received information regarding a previous collapse, the report said.

Contractor Statement

Construction firm Danya Cebus was in charge of the parking garage project, located in northern Tel Aviv, next to the Assuta Medical Center, reports note.

In a statement to reporters, Danya Cebus offered condolences to the victims and their families.

“At this difficult time, we focus on aiding the rescue services and we’ll do everything we can to help the investigative authorities in their work,” the statement also said.

Reports have surfaced indicating that Danya Cebus has a history of jobsite accidents and safety violations.

The project began in 2014 and was reportedly slated for completion early next year.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; concrete; Construction; Fatalities; Health and safety; Parking Garages; Safety

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