ACCRA (Reuters) - A four-storey building housing a department store in Ghana’s capital Accra collapsed on Wednesday, killing at least one person and trapping dozens inside, emergency officials and witnesses said.
Rescue workers pulled at least six people from the rubble, one of them dead and the rest injured, as large crowds gathered to watch, a Reuters witness in the West African country said.
“We are doing our best to get to those trapped. We hear there are about three dozen,” Kwame Avevoi, a police officer coordinating the rescue, told Reuters.
Excavators were trying to lift and remove the building’s broken beams and concrete blocks.
Melcom Ltd., which runs Ghana’s largest chain of retail department stores, said it rented the building in the suburb of Achimota and opened its store there about six months ago.
“This is a tragedy and we are very much concerned about those trapped in there,” said Vitalina Adjimani, a Melcom official. “Our concern is not about the loss of property but it’s about human lives,” she said.
Emergency officials at the scene said the collapse was likely caused by structural failure.
A spokesman for President John Dramani Mahama said he was cutting short a campaigning tour in the north of the country for December elections to focus on the rescue efforts.
“My prayers are with the workers, shoppers and others who are trapped in the rubble of the collapsed Achimota Melcom building,” Mahama said in a post on Twitter.
Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Mark Heinrich