Published: Fri, March 03, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Johannesburg's Charlotte Maxeke hospital roof collapse sees rescuers frantically dig for survivors

Johannesburg's Charlotte Maxeke hospital roof collapse sees rescuers frantically dig for survivors

Five people have been confirmed injured in the roof collapse at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. "Rescue workers are busy on the scene at the moment trying to ascertain the safety", a spokesman for ER24 rescue service told Reuters.

State hospitals in South Africa have been struggling with persistent underfunding for staff, equipment and facilities.

The local department of health said it is not now known how many people have been injured in the collapse, which happened on Thursday afternoon (2 March).

He also said the contractor had not placed the relevant warning signs in the hospital.

Emergency services are expecting to have the rubble from the Charlotte Maxeke roof collapse cleared within the next hour or two.

DA provincial spokesperson on health Jack Bloom sent out a statement in 2016 in which he expressed concern over the structural integrity of the building.

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Staff have told me that stones were moved onto the section of the roof which collapse onto the hospital street level.

Gauteng Health Department spokesperson, Steve Mabona, is on record as saying that "very minimal disruptions" would be caused during the fix project. "Because of the weight it basically overweighted the roof and then it collapsed‚" he said.

"At this stage we can neither confirm the number of injuries nor what caused the collapse".

The roof caved in at the reception area of the Charlotte Maxeke hospital as construction work was under way to seal a leak, officials say.

"Emergency Medical Services are at the scene". It has 1,088 usable beds.

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