At least 18 killed in Tanzania building collapse

At least 18 people were killed, with more than 60 believed to be trapped under rubble after a building collapsed in Dar es Salaam Friday. The building was under construction and most of those trapped were laborers, or people passing by.

Zhang Ping/Xinhua/AP
Rescue workers remove debris at the site of a building collapse site in downtown Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Friday. At least 18 people have died after a building under construction collapsed in the country's largest city and economic center.

At least 18 people were killed when a building collapsed Friday in Tanzania's largest city, Dar es Salaam and hopes have dimmed of rescuing more survivors, a municipal official said Saturday.

Poor equipment hampered efforts to rescue more than 60 people believed to be trapped under the rubble, Dar es Salaam commissioner Said Siddiq said by telephone. At least 17 people, three seriously injured, were pulled out of the debris Friday.

Officials said construction work on the building, located on one of the busiest streets in Tanzania's commercial center, was about to be completed and that the structure did not have tenants. Most of the people caught in the collapse of the 12-story building were laborers as well as those passing by or loitering nearby. Some witnesses said dozens of construction workers and food vendors were in the building when it collapsed Friday morning and that scores of children were playing soccer in a nearby playground. Others said more than 200 casual laborers and engineers worked on the building regularly.

Siddiq said three engineers who worked on the building had been taken into custody for questioning. In recent years building collapses have become frequent in East African countries as some property developers bypass regulations to cut costs.

Dar es Salaam police have halted work on a 16-story building that was being built adjacent to the one that collapsed, saying the construction project needs to be reviewed. Both buildings have the same owner.

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