Rescue workers retrieve at least three survivors from rubble of luxury apartments under construction
First published on Mon 1 Nov 2021 12.42 EDT
At least six people have died after a luxury residential high-rise under construction in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, collapsed, trapping construction workers under a pile of concrete rubble, the state emergency services chief said.
The official, Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said a search and rescue effort had been launched for survivors late on Monday.
Witnesses said up to 100 people were missing and at least three survivors were pulled out on Monday night as rescue workers raced against the clock to dig up victims at the site in the affluent neighbourhood of Ikoyi, where many blocks of flats are under construction.
Workers said that as many as 100 people were at work when the building came crashing down.
Wisdom John, 28, a bricklayer, said he escaped with just a few cuts because he had been on the ground floor when the building collapsed into a pile of concrete, its floors sandwiching together.
“There [were] more than 50 working today and the manager too,” he said, sitting in an ambulance getting treated. “We just ran out.”
Rescue workers used excavators to dig through rubble using generator-powered floodlights. The retrieved body was put in a waiting van while at least three people who were rescued were taken to nearby ambulances.
Lagos state police commissioner Hakeem Olusegun Odumosu said it was still too early to determine the cause of the collapse.
Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, general manager of the Lagos state emergency management agency, said that many workers were trapped under the rubble.
Building collapses are frequent in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, where regulations are poorly enforced and construction materials often substandard.
There were heaps of rubble and twisted metal where the building once stood, as several workers looked on. One man wailed, saying his relative was among those trapped.
The Lagos state government said the building had 22 floors and authorities were assessing whether there had been any damage to nearby buildings.
The collapsed building was part of three towers being built by private developer Fourscore Homes. In a brochure for potential clients, the company promises to offer “a stress-free lifestyle, complete with a hotel flair”. The cheapest unit was selling for $1.2m.
Calls to the numbers listed for Fourscore Homes and the main building contractor did not ring through.