Two more bodies were pulled out early Wednesday from the debris of a collapsed Lagos high-rise building, bringing the death toll to 22 people, the emergency services said.
The 21-storey building was still under construction when it crumbled on Monday in the upscale Ikoyi neighbourhood of Nigeria’s commercial capital.
Rescuers said Wednesday they had recovered 22 dead bodies so far and rescued nine people who survived, but construction workers feared dozens of their colleagues were trapped inside.
“We recovered two male bodies early this morning, bringing the toll to 22,” Ibrahim Farinloye of the National Emergency Management Agency told AFP.
The number of survivors still stood at nine, he said, adding that search and rescue operations were still on.
Hope of finding more survivors appeared to dim as the rescue operation entered the third day on Wednesday.
“We won’t give up until we reach ground zero,” Farinloye said, adding that bigger equipment was brought in Tuesday evening for the operation.
He had earlier said rescue workers had been communicating with other survivors still trapped under the destroyed building.
Distraught relatives and friends of the victims have been besieging the scene since Monday, seeking information on their fate.
Two other smaller buildings in Lagos also collapsed on Tuesday following heavy rains in the densely populated city a day earlier, though no one was killed, he said.
Building collapses are tragically common in Lagos and across Africa’s most populous nation where substandard materials, negligence and a lack of enforcement of construction standards are major problems.
Lagos state police said it is too early to determine why the Ikoyi building collapsed, but Lagos emergency management agency manager Femi Oke-Osanyintolu said infractions had been committed in its construction.
“We are going to get to the roots of the matter to prevent a recurrence,” he told AFP.