Egypt apartment building collapses, 11 killed

Other News Materials 9 October 2008 01:52 (UTC +04:00)

An apartment building collapsed in the city of Alexandria on Egypt's northern coast overnight, killing at least 11 people, Egyptian state media said on Wednesday.

Security sources said at least two more people were missing and feared dead, reported Reuters.

The dead include a mother found clutching her baby, state news agency MENA reported. At least six others were injured, and rescue workers were combing the ruins of the five-storey building for more victims, MENA added.

Samih Nazmi, a 28-year-old storeman who lived on the ground floor with his parents, said the building made a sound like an exploding gas cylinder when it collapsed.

"Luckily the ground floor was mostly intact. My parents and I climbed out through a gap into the neighboring house," he told Reuters at the scene of the collapse.

The building, in the center of the Mediterranean city, was built in 1955 and the owner added a fifth floor in 1997 in violation of building regulations, a common practice in Egypt, police sources and residents said.

The residents had complained to the local authorities that the building was unsafe and the authorities had ordered the removal of the fifth floor and other structural changes, they added. But the orders were not implemented, they said.

Thirty-six people in six households lived in the building but some of them were not at home at the time, they said.

Building collapses are common in Egypt because of lax building standards and poor maintenance.