At least 13 dead, 23 injured in Cambodia building collapse

Rescuers search for survivors in rubble of building which had been under construction

A rescue team attempts to find  missing workers at a collapsed building in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Photograph: Reuters

A rescue team attempts to find missing workers at a collapsed building in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Photograph: Reuters

 

Thirteen people were killed when an under-construction building in Cambodia collapsed early on Saturday, an official said, as rescuers struggled to reach missing workers feared trapped under a mountain of twisted steel and rubble.

The seven-storey steel and concrete structure in the coastal town of Sihanoukville, west of the capital Phnom Penh, was a Chinese-owned project.

At least 23 people were injured and many workers were still missing and feared trapped inside, according to the office of the spokesman for the local province of Preah Sihanouk.

An overhead view of a collapsed under-construction building in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Photograph: Reuters
An overhead view of a collapsed under-construction building in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Photograph: Reuters

“The steel structure has collapsed on itself and we don’t dare move it,” the spokesman Oar Saroeun said. “We can only wait and listen for any signs of life...

“We are afraid more of it will collapse on them... We will work through the night to remove the steel.”

A statement issued later on Saturday by Preah Sihanouk Province officials said 36 workers had been rescued from the debris. It was not clear how many more were missing.

Police have detained four people, including three construction supervisors, for questioning in relation to the accident, according to a statement from the province.

Photos of the scene shared on social media showed groups of rescuers working their way through a crumpled heap of steel girders and concrete.

Preah Sihanouk province and its largest town, Sihanoukville, has seen a rush of investment in recent years from China, especially into the casino, property and tourism sectors.

Home to Cambodia’s largest port and a Chinese Special Economic Zone connected to Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative, the town is also undergoing a construction boom to serve the growing crowds of Chinese tourists and investors. - Reuters