One casualty possible in roof collapse at Canadian mall
(Reuters) - Canadian authorities said on Sunday at least one person may have been killed at a northern Ontario shopping mall when a roof-top parking lot partially collapsed onto retail shops, while a second person may still be trapped inside.
At least 22 people were injured in the collapse Saturday at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, about 335 miles northwest of Toronto, city officials said.
"There is a possibility of at least one casualty," said Christine Ouimet, media relations officer for the Ontario Provincial Police, saying that rescue teams working to enter the site had located a severed hand and foot.
The collapse occurred on Saturday afternoon, when the mall is typically crowded with shoppers. It sent at least one parked vehicle as well as concrete and metal raining into the two-story mall below, leaving a hole in the roof.
Ouimet said there was evidence that at least one other person was trapped and still alive inside the mall. "This is still considered a rescue mission," she said.
Extraction teams, including dogs trained to locate people trapped underneath debris, were standing by as crews worked to stabilize the site, which was still too dangerous to enter, city officials said.
It would take another 10 to 12 hours of work before teams could enter the building, the city said in a statement released Sunday afternoon.
Authorities said they have compiled a list of people who have been reported missing in the area but could not confirm how many were on the list.
"It happened so fast," Elaine Quinte, owner of Hungry Jack's restaurant in the mall, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. "All of a sudden I started getting hit by some of the rubble. I turned around. I saw other people in the food court running out of the doors. ... There was instantly so much dust. First you saw, and then you didn't."
None of the 22 people treated at hospitals sustained life-threatening injuries, officials said.
Overhead photos taken soon after the collapse showed several vehicles remained parked on the undamaged part of the rooftop lot. The collapse opened up a large, rectangular space and a clear view of the retail space below.
A spokeswoman for the city, located near Lake Huron's remote northern shore, could not be reached immediately for further comment.
(Reporting By Frank McGurty; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Bill Trott)
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