Video, Images: Collapse in Latvia; Over 40 Killed, Many Trapped

Over 40 people killed in roof collapse in country’s capital

 

 
 
 

GARY PEACH, Associated Press | | Friday, November 22, 2013

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Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

Over 40 killed including three firefighters.
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RIGA, Latvia (AP) — Hordes of shoppers were picking up food after work in the Latvian capital when an enormous section of the supermarket's roof caved in. Firefighters rushed in to save them, only to be crushed themselves when a second part of the roof collapsed.

The death toll from the rush-hour disaster Thursday evening at the Maxima supermarket in Riga rose to 45 on Friday, including three firefighters, police said. Spokesman Toms Sadovskisk said the death toll is expected to go even higher, and nine of the dead were still unidentified.

Another 35 people were injured, 28 of them hospitalized, including 10 firefighters struck just as they entered the unstable building, the Fire and Rescue Service said.

It was the largest tragedy for the Baltic state since it regained independence in 1991. Latvia's government declared three days of mourning starting Saturday.

The rescue agency could not say how many people might be trapped under the rubble in the densely populated, working-class neighborhood between downtown Riga and the city's airport.

The reason for the collapse was still not known, but rescue and police officials said workers had been building a garden on the roof as part of the supermarket's original design.

An enormous crater-like hole gaped in the supermarket's roof, while building materials were still stacked on the remaining sections of the roof.

Rescue workers kept up their round-the-clock search for possible survivors Friday, periodically turning off all equipment and asking the relatives of missing people to call so they could pinpoint ringing phones. Dozens of firefighters carefully sifted through the rubble.

Rescue agency spokeswoman Viktorija Sembele said the search for survivors was proceeding slowly, since both the rubble and the remaining sections of the roof were fragile and could easily collapse further if the wrong piece was moved.

About 500 square meters (5,300 square feet) of the roof collapsed, the rescue service estimated, destroying large sections of the store's high walls and nearly all its front windows.

Several large construction cranes gingerly hauled metal slabs and other debris from its central gaping hole Friday, while bulldozers cleared paths into the store. Sembele said approximately one-third of the rubble still needed to be removed.

The building was completed in November 2011. The Lithuania-owned Maxima was reportedly renting the space.

Maxima officials refused to comment, saying they would release a statement later.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

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Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

A late Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 view of the collapsed Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Maris Morkans)


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Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

A view of collapsed Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Roman Koksarov)


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Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

Police and rescue workers surround the Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Roman Koksarov)


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Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

Candles and flowers outside the collapsed Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Roman Koksarov)


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Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

Debris, foreground,which was removed by rescue teams during a search for victims at the Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Roman Koksarov)


Gallery 1

Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

A view of the collapsed Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Roman Koksarov)


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Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

Rescue workers search debris of the Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Roman Koksarov)


Gallery 1

Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

Rescue workers carry a stretcher with a victim outside the Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Roman Koksarov)


Gallery 1

Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

Rescue workers carry a stretcher with a victim outside the Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Roman Koksarov)


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Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

Rescuers work at the Maxima grocery store after its roof collapsed in Riga, Latvia, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. Latvian rescue officials say a roof at a large grocery store in the country's capital collapsed killing several people and injuring more than a dozen people. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov)


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Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

Rescuers work at the Maxima grocery store after its roof collapsed in Riga, Latvia, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. Latvian rescue officials say a roof at a large grocery store in the country's capital collapsed killing several people and injuring more than a dozen people. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov)


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Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

Rescuers work at the Maxima grocery store after its roof collapsed in Riga, Latvia, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. Latvian rescue officials say a roof at a large grocery store in the country's capital collapsed and killed several people and injuring more than a dozen people. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov)


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Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

A medical worker uses a defibrillator to treat a victim of a roof collapse the Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, late Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, as other rescuers gather around. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Maris Morkans)


Gallery 1

Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

A view of collapsed Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Roman Koksarov)


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Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

Passers by react outside the collapsed Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Maris Morkans)


Gallery 1

Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

A policeman, centre right, guards victim bodies outside the collapsed Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Maris Morkans)


Gallery 1

Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

A teenager warms up with a blanket outside the collapsed Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia Thursday evening, Nov. 21, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Maris Morkans)


Gallery 1

Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

A late Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 view of a rescue operation outside collapsed Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Maris Morkans)


Gallery 1

Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

Flowers outside the collapsed Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Roman Koksarov)


Gallery 1

Deadly Latvian Supermarket Collapse

Workers carry a stretcher with a firefighter outside the Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. At least 32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said Friday. The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work. (AP Photo/ Roman Koksarov)



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