Crews search for survivors in Canada mall collapse

Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:09pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Rescue workers in the northern Ontario town of Elliot Lake intensified their search for survivors on Monday, two days after a roof collapsed at a two-storey shopping mall.

One person was already confirmed dead and 22 injured, and police said 30 people were unaccounted for, a list that had grown from nine. There was no way of knowing how many of those were in the mall at the time of collapse, Canadian Broadcasting Corp television quoted police as saying.

There were signs of life in the rubble as recently as 4 a.m. (0800 GMT) on Monday, suggesting at least one person had survived when a roof-top parking lot partially collapsed on shops at the two-storey Algo Centre Mall, police said at a news conference, according to the CBC.

Teams working to enter the site had located a severed hand and foot, authorities said on Sunday. On Monday, the one death was confirmed.

The collapse occurred on Saturday afternoon, when the mall is typically crowded. Twenty-two people were hurt, but none had life-threatening injuries, officials said. The collapse sent at least one parked vehicle as well as concrete and metal raining into the mall below, leaving a hole in the roof.

Extraction teams, including dogs trained to locate people trapped beneath debris, have traveled to Elliot Lake, once a uranium-mining town and now a retirement community about 335 miles northwest of Toronto.

The Ontario Provincial Police have compiled a list of 30 people who have been reported missing in the area, the CBC reported.

Questions were raised about a history of roof problems at the mall, including leaking ceilings and rusted beams that were reported to have been visible.

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 shopping concourse below.

(Reporting By Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Peter Galloway)