Cambodia building collapse: Rescuers find two alive

Against the odds, two people are cut free from the tangled wreckage of Sihanoukville building and carried out alive.

    An overhead view of the collapsed under-construction building in Sihanoukville [Reuters]
    An overhead view of the collapsed under-construction building in Sihanoukville [Reuters]

    Rescuers in Cambodia have pulled two survivors from the rubble of a collapsed building, more than two days after a construction-site accident killed at least 28 people and wounded dozens.

    A hospital official said on Monday the two men were very weak and could only speak softly.

    "I heard the sound of rescuers, I called for help but they didn't hear me," Ros Sitha, one of the two found alive, told AFP news agency.

    "There was a dead body near me. I didn't have water to drink," the 41 -year-old said from his hospital bed.  "I am so lucky to survive."

    The seven-story Chinese-owned building in the seaside resort town of Sihanoukville collapsed on top of dozens of construction workers who were sleeping on the second floor. 

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    The Chinese Embassy expressed its condolences and said it was mobilising Chinese assistance for the rescue.

    Apart from the two survivors, Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities said rescuers digging through the twisted metal and concrete rubble found four bodies, raising the death toll to 28.

    Prime Minister Hun Sen visited the site on Sunday and again on Monday, when he announced the end of the rescue operation and said officials would now determine who was responsible.

    "I regret what happened here," he told reporters at the site of the collapse. "We have heard about building collapses which occurred in other countries such as China or Bangladesh, but now it has happened in our country."

    Hun Sen also announced that he was establishing a committee to oversee the quality of Chinese building projects in the town. But he praised Chinese investors, saying every country in the world needs them.

    Provincial authorities said in a statement that four Chinese nationals involved in the construction have been detained while the collapse was investigated.

    They said 54 people were trapped in the collapse, of whom 28 were killed and 26 were injured.

    One of the injured, Nhor Chandeun, said he and his wife were sleeping when they heard a loud noise and felt the building vibrate and then begin falling down. They were trapped for 12 hours before rescuers found them.

    The Chinese Embassy said it "supports a thorough investigation of the accident and necessary measures by competent Cambodian authority in accordance with the law."

    SOURCE: News agencies