Rescue workers and their dogs on Wednesday were sifting through the rubble of a South African mall that collapsed, killing at least one and leaving an unknown number missing and injured.
“We have no idea how many are trapped at the moment, but we’ve only got confirmation of three missing,” said police spokeswoman Mandy Govender, in Reuters.
The mall was under construction. It was three stories high and located in Tongaat, about 20 miles outside Durban.
Dogs trained in search and rescue alerted handlers on Wednesday to one “hot spot” already, officials said, in the Reuters report. And emergency workers responded, smashing through slabs of concrete and steel with rescue tools powered by hydraulics.
The reason for the collapse isn’t yet known. But one politician, the district mayor, said local officials had already warned mall workers about its ongoing construction project, saying the area was a safety hazard and presenting several court injunctions to halt the development. The latest injunction was handed to development officials last week, Reuters reported.
“It looks like the company violated all of those court orders, and now this tragedy happened,” said the district mayor, James Nxumalo, in the Reuters report.