Cambodian Hotel Collapse Kills Six, Injures Dozens

  • The construction workers were working when the building collapsed and 20 or 30 people were trapped.
  • Firefighters, police, medical staff, and others rushed to the scene to start the rescue.
  • Rescue workers split the piece, using tools such as cutters, electric drills, and hammers to open the concrete blocks on the ruins.

A spokesman for the government of Kep Province, in Cambodia, said today that a collapse of a building under construction in Baima City yesterday afternoon had killed seven people and injured 18 others. According to survivors, at least six others were buried. Rescue work is currently underway.

Kep Province is the smallest province (khaet) of Cambodia, covering 336 km2 (130 sq mi), with a population of 41,798. It is both the smallest and least populous province of Cambodia.

The scene of a collapsed building accident was photographed by a drone in the city of Kep today. Provincial government spokesman Luo Wudong told reporters that construction workers were working when the building collapsed and 20 people were trapped. Firefighters, police, medical staff, and others rushed to the scene to start the rescue. Chundi, director of the Kep Provincial Fire Department, said that thousands of people participated in the rescue, including some Chinese, with 12 excavators, four cranes, ten ambulances, five fire trucks and more than ten trucks participating in the rescue.

The reporter saw at the scene that the building floors were stacked and the steel bars were distorted. Pots, bowls, furniture, clothing, and other daily necessities are scattered in the rubble. Excavators and cranes are removing rubble. Rescue workers split the piece, using tools such as cutters, electric drills, and hammers to open the concrete blocks on the ruins. The 37-year-old Cambodian soldier, Insavu, has been on-site rescue from the evening of the 3rd to noon on the 4th. He told reporters that he was small enough to climb into the rubble. He rescued three women from the rubble, and one survived.

Sihanoukville also known as “Kampong Som,” is a coastal city in Cambodia and the capital of Sihanoukville Province, at the tip of an elevated peninsula in the country’s south-west on the Gulf of Thailand. As of 2019 nearly 80,000 Chinese live in Sihanoukville, accounting for 90% of the city’s expat population.

Dozens of Chinese, who arrived from other cities, distributed drinking water at the scene and helped move concrete fragments. Staff from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sihanoukville, Cambodia donated money to the families of the victims and the injured. Mr. Gao, who is doing business in Cambodia, is from Ningxia, China. He has more than 20 years of fire rescue experience. He immediately drove from Phnom Penh after seeing the news of the accident on the afternoon, yesterday. “I want to use my expertise to help the rescue as soon as possible,” he said.

At noon today, the families of the trapped people are still waiting at the scene. “My brother, sister, and brother-in-law are still buried inside,” Meng Duo, 26, said. “I hope the rescue team can find them soon.” Bapi, who was treated in the hospital, is still in shock. He said, “I feel trapped inside and I can’t survive. It’s dark and breathing was difficult. I’ve been calling for help. Fortunately, rescuers found me three hours later.” He said that three relatives were trapped in the ruins.

An official from the Kep City Planning Department said that the building owner had previously applied for the construction of a five-story building and later illegally stamped the sixth and seventh floors. The building owner is a Cambodian citizen and has been arrested. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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