Orlando's cooling water towers collapse!

A fifth man had been rescued at 6.30am, soon after the collapse.

To reach the four trapped men, rescuers used hydraulic lifts and cutting equipment.

Rescuers could locate one man by his finger poking through rubble but they were unable to free him before nightfall. A trauma surgeon suited up in scrubs before evaluating whether the man’s arm would need to be amputated.

It was shortly after the building collapsed, at about 5am, that Maria Matsinhe received a phone call from her husband.

He said he and three other men had managed to pull free from the rubble but he believed that her brother and her nephew were among those still trapped.

Her husband, who left for work from their Boksburg Home at 8pm on Tuesday, also alerted Johannesburg Emergency Services.

By 4pm, one of the men, aged 34, was freed. He was taken to hospital with injuries to his head and body.

Johannesburg EMS spokesman Nana Radebe said the man — who had been trapped for about 11 hours was in a serious, but not critical, condition.

By 5.30pm yesterday, two other men had been rescued, and taken to hospital.

On Sunday, Ekurhuleni emergency personnel had to retrieve the bodies of illegal miners that had been shot underground.

Such rescues are expensive.

Ahmed Bham, the Gift of the Givers search and rescue coordinator, said an operation such as the one in Orlando yesterday would cost about R1-million.

The four rescued men could face arrest.

In the crowd, Lindiwe Ndlovu looked to see if her brother-in-law was among those who were trapped.

“He didn’t come home, and his cellphone is off.”

Two months ago, he was arrested for stealing metal from the Orlando power station. She thought maybe he had come back.

Both Matsinhe and Ndlovu were still on the scene as the ambulances left with the injured men.

*Orlando power station is next to the popular joint Chaf Pozi and two gigantic FNB Towers.

The venue is also home to the various activities such as qaud-drives, biking, Towers ride and, so on.

It is managed by entrepreneur Kgomotso Pooe-founder of Soweto Outdoor Adventures.

Pooe was unavailable for comment.


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