Rescuers scramble to save woman trapped in Sri Lanka building collapse

PHOTO: AFP

COLOMBO - Rescuers were digging through rubble trying to save a woman they feared was trapped inside a collapsed wedding reception hall in the Sri Lankan capital on Friday, officials said after confirming that one man had been killed and 23 injured.

Police said construction work was under way to expand the five-storey building in Colombo when it collapsed on Thursday.

Police, soldiers and firefighters were involved in the search for the missing woman.

A hospital official said one man was pulled alive from the debris after being trapped for five hours but died soon after he was admitted to hospital.

Photos: Sri Lanka building collapse

  • Sri Lankan firemen and rescue workers look for survivors after a seven-story building collapsed during construction in Colombo on May 19, 2017.
  • A multi-storey wedding venue collapsed on May 18 during construction in Sri Lanka, injuring at least 20 workers and leaving three others missing, police and hospital officials said.
  • Labourers were working on the roof of the grand seven-floored structure in Colombo when it came crashing down, pinning tradesmen beneath falling slabs of concrete.
  • The reason for the building collapse was not immediately clear.
  • Military officials and fire brigade members work during a rescue mission after a building collapsed in Colombo, Sri Lanka May 18, 2017.
  • A military official works during a rescue mission after a building collapsed in Colombo, Sri Lanka May 18, 2017.
  • Military officials and fire brigade members work during a rescue mission after a building collapsed in Colombo, Sri Lanka May 18, 2017.
  • Construction labourers injured in a building collapse lie in a ward of the Colombo South Hospital in Kalubowila, Colombo on May 18, 2017.

Police said 23 were injured.

"The rescue operation is continuing for the second day and military and rescue teams are removing the debris," police spokesman Priyantha Jayakody said.

"Still one lady is missing and we are searching for her. We don't know if she is trapped inside," he said.

The reason for the building collapse was not immediately clear but Jayakody said the weight of the new extension could have been the cause.

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