4 dead in partial building collapse

CAIRO (AP) – An apartment building in Cairo partially collapsed overnight, killing at least four people, Egyptian officials said on Monday.

By late morning, rescue workers were still searching for a possible survivor trapped under the rubble of the four-storey building in the densely populated Roud el-Farag neighbourhood of the Egyptian capital. A fire engine ladder was used as rescuers tried to enter the part of the building that was still standing.

The dead were all from one family, the state-run Al-Ahram daily reported. The report said part of the building’s stairs collapsed as rescue workers were searching the rubble, injuring a policemen.

Four others, including a child, were pulled from under the rubble and taken to a hospital, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media.

Police cordoned off the area, keeping back onlookers and those who were apparently looking for relatives in the building. Authorities also evacuated neighbouring buildings for fear of others collapsing.

It was not immediately clear what caused the collapse. It is not uncommon for buildings to collapse in Egypt, where shoddy construction is widespread in shantytowns, poor city neighbourhoods and rural areas. In December, five people were killed when an apartment building collapsed in Alexandria.