Cambodian rescue workers in a beach town have picked through the rubble of a Chinese-owned building in a desperate search for survivors after the 7-story building under construction collapsed, killing at least 17 construction workers.
At least 1,000 rescue workers, soldiers, police, medical experts and Chinese construction experts are currently at the site combing through the rubble of the collapsed building. 24 people are reportedly injured. Rescue workers had scoured barely half the debris as at Sunday morning.
The building was about 80 percent complete when it collapsed around 4am on Saturday, according to report.
A local official said; “teams have searched about 40 percent of the debris”, prompting concerns the toll will rise.
“We fear more bodies are trapped in the debris because the search has not reached the bottom of the building yet,” the official told AFP, requesting anonymity.
It is unclear how many people were at the site the time the building collapsed, but a local official said there would normally be about 50 workers on the building site at the time.
Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen blamed the incident on “carelessness” by the construction company.
Hun Sen said the victims’ families would be given $10,000 each.
“The tragedy of the building collapse in Preah Sihanouk province is painful… for our nation, especially the families of those who lost (their lives),” Hun Sen said.
The owner of the building, the head of the construction firm and the contractor – all Chinese nationals – have been detained by Cambodian police while rescue and investigations are ongoing.