(HAMBURG) – Several workers were killed or missing after scaffolding collapsed at a major construction site in Hamburg, a port city in northern Germany, a fire department spokesman said Monday, after reviewing an earlier preliminary report.
A spokesman for local firefighters told AFP: “We currently confirm the death of three people.” Firefighters initially reported five people dead.
She added: “One person was injured and his life-threatening condition is being diagnosed.”
She added: “There is a person missing at this point, and it is believed that he is still under the rubble.” Firefighters had previously reported “several missing people.”
The dead workers were constructing an eight-story elevator shaft when the scaffolding fell around 4:10 a.m. ET, sending them falling into the void, the popular daily reported. Bild.
There are about 70 rescue team members at the scene.
The accident, the causes of which are still unknown, occurred in the HafenCity area, a huge project to redevelop a former part of the port of Hamburg.
According to Bild newspaper, scaffolding collapsed at Westfield Hamburg-Persequartier, a new commercial, residential and entertainment complex scheduled to be completed in spring 2024.
The complex is also scheduled to include a new cruise ship terminal.
Its owner, the multinational Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, expressed its regret over the tragic accident.
The company, which specializes in managing, promoting and investing in major shopping centres, said in a press statement that it is providing “its support to the relief forces and working with the authorities.”
A fire brigade spokesman told the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper that “the rescue operation is very difficult,” due to the tangled scaffolding elements, which makes intervention dangerous for rescuers.
The site, where about 700 workers were working, was completely evacuated, according to Bild newspaper.
The police cordoned off the accident site, and a rescue helicopter and a number of ambulances arrived to transport the injured.