As a result of the collapse of the residential building in Batumi, 10-15 people are currently trapped in ruins and two of them have telephone contact with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri told journalists.
“About five floors have collapsed. Based on our information, about 10-15 people are buried inside the ruins. We are in contact with 2 people, they are alive and talking to us on the phone, but they can not explain to us where they are, whether they are down in the ruins or relatively up. However, we are talking to them on the phone,” Gomelauri said.
He said hundreds of rescuers were involved in the search. In addition, special equipment, employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and representatives of the local city hall and municipal service are mobilized on the spot.
“We are doing everything possible to get these people out as soon as possible. However, in this case, working fast is physically impossible and it can hurt more and make it worse. Therefore, at a very high level, our rescuers are working professionally to move the rubble one by one to find the people below who are alive,” Gomelauri explained.
According to the Minister of Internal Affairs, the demolition is probably related to the repair works on the first floor of the building and the retaining wall may have been damaged. He said an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the collapse, and if anyone is found guilty, they will be held accountable.
Part of a 5-storey block of flats collapsed on 26 May Street in Batumi, the capital of the Adjara region, injuring several people, including minors. Rescuers saved two minors from the ruins, including one newborn.
According to the City Hall, 15 residential apartments have collapsed. The incident occurred around 12:00 p.m.
By Ana Dumbadze