Teenager dies as ceiling collapses




A TEENAGER died and two men were injured when the ceiling of a building collapsed on top of them yesterday.

Bahraini Ali Abdulla Sultan, 18, suffocated under the rubble where his body was trapped for three hours.

The Bahraini owner of the building, Makki Ali Ebrahim Al Qaseer, 52, and his 25-year-old son Ahmed Makki Ebrahim Al Qaseer, were also trapped but both were rescued by firemen and taken to Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC), where Ahmed was said to be in critical condition.

A Toyota Corolla car was also destroyed when the ceiling collapsed, while three vehicles and a forklift parked inside the property were also damaged.

The incident happened in Sehla at around 9.30am when a beam supporting a ceiling on an upper floor failed as construction work was underway. Those standing on the ground floor were trapped under debris that crashed down on them from above.

The ground floor was used as a garage by Mr Al Qaseer, who owns another garage nearby.

Police and Civil Defence teams dug through the rubble for survivors with the help of dozens of neighbours.

Mr Al Qaseer and his son were the first to be rescued, but Mr Sultan was already dead by the time his body was recovered at around 1pm.

The owner’s sister, Laila Ebrahim Al Qaseer, told the GDN the deceased was there to collect a motorbike that was in for repair.

‘My brother used to come and sit near the building to check on the workers,’ said Ms Al Qaseer. ‘He has a garage opposite this building, but moved some cars into this building as he was planning to open a garage on the ground floor.

‘Ali is a customer and came to pick up his bike from my brother.

‘Unfortunately, he died as he was stuck under the debris for hours.

‘My brother and his son are both in SMC, but Ahmed was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit.’

A crowd gathered around the building after being drawn by the loud crash that accompanied the ceiling collapse.

‘We heard the sound and immediately rushed to the scene,’ said Khaleel Ahmed.

‘Although police came after someone called them and cordoned off the area, we offered to help them and managed to pull out two people.

‘But the third person was still underneath the debris and authorities asked us to move.

‘They later said he died of suffocation.’

A police officer at the scene paid tribute to Civil Defence personnel who toiled for hours to rescue the trapped men.

‘A teenager died while two other individuals were rescued by our brave firemen, who struggled for hours to pull them out,’ he told the GDN.

Mr Sultan, a grade 12 student at Shaikh Abdulla Secondary School for Boys, was from Jid Ali. He is survived by his parents, two brothers and a sister, according to his friend Mohammed Salman Idrees.

‘He was my best friend and I came after someone told me he was trapped under a concrete ceiling which collapsed,’ said Mr Idrees.

‘I was not allowed to cross the police tape as the area was cordoned off.

‘I stood there for hours waiting anxiously to see my friend alive.

‘But after almost three hours, authorities asked us to move away from the site when they were able to pull out the body.

‘My heart almost stopped when they brought the body on a stretcher and paramedics confirmed the time of death.

‘It’s sad news for me, his family and other friends who knew him. I can only say may God bless his soul and may he rest in peace.’

Meanwhile, Northern Municipality authorities said last night that illegal construction was being carried out in the collapsed building.

‘A citizen rented the Jaafari Endowment-owned premises and started building a back extension without securing construction permit from relevant authorities,’ the Northern Municipality said in a statement.

It said that it had notified the tenant of the leased building and reported the violation to the Jaafari Endowments Directorate.

The municipality said that it had summoned the tenant to sign an undertaking to stop construction unless legally licensed.

‘The violator failed to abide by the undertaking he had signed and carried on construction in breach of the law,’ it said.

A municipal team is probing the technical causes in co-operation with the Interior Ministry and the Public Prosecution, the statement said.

Source: http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=391951

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