ALEXANDRIA, (Reuters) – An apartment building collapsed in the city of Alexandria on Egypt’s northern coast overnight and rescue workers have pulled nine bodies from the rubble, security sources said on Wednesday.
At least three more people were missing and feared dead, the sources added.
The dead include a mother found clutching her baby, state news agency MENA reported. At least 10 others were injured, and rescue workers were combing the ruins of the five-storey building for more victims, MENA added.
Samih Nazmi, a 28-year-old storeman who lived on the ground floor with his parents, said the building made a sound like an exploding gas cylinder when it collapsed.
“Luckily the ground floor was mostly intact. My parents and I climbed out through a gap into the neighbouring house,” he told Reuters at the scene of the collapse.
The building, in the centre of the Mediterranean city, was built in 1955 and the owner added a fifth floor in 1997 in violation of building regulations, a common practice in Egypt, police sources and residents said.
The residents had complained to the local authorities that the building was unsafe and the authorities had ordered the removal of the fifth floor and other structural changes, they added. But the orders was not implemented, they said.
Thirty-six people in six households lived in the buidling but some of them were not at home at the time, they said.
Building collapses are common in Egypt because of lax building standards and poor maintenance.