At least ten dead after ice skating rink roof collapses

2nd January 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 January 2005, BAD REICHENHALL, GERMANY - At least 10 people were killed and others are feared dead after the roof of an ice skating rink in southern Germany collapsed Monday following heavy snowfall, police said early Tuesday. Five bodies were recovered from the wrecked facility in the town of Bad Reichenhall, located high in the Bavarian Alps near the Austrian border, said police spokesman Franz Sommerauer. He added that search dogs had discovered four other bodies on the ice rink but that their recover

2 January 2005

BAD REICHENHALL, GERMANY - At least 10 people were killed and others are feared dead after the roof of an ice skating rink in southern Germany collapsed Monday following heavy snowfall, police said early Tuesday.

Five bodies were recovered from the wrecked facility in the town of Bad Reichenhall, located high in the Bavarian Alps near the Austrian border, said police spokesman Franz Sommerauer. 

He added that search dogs had discovered four other bodies on the ice rink but that their recovery was not yet possible. 

One child that was rescued died in hospital.

"We expect to find more dead," Sommerauer added.

Officials said the six confirmed dead include four children, a woman and a young man. About 35 people with medium to severe injuries were also pulled from the wreckage of the ice rink, police said.

Late Monday, about six hours after the incident occurred, a woman was rescued alive and hospitalized with bruises and hypothermia, according to local district head Georg Grabner.
Heavy snow hampered rescue efforts and delayed the arrival of heavy equipment and a crane to lift the collapsed 60-metre-long roof. Six cranes were in operation overnight to prevent the collapse of the roof's remains. About 360 people are involved in the rescue operation, down from 700 late Monday.

Both German and Austrian rescue teams were at the scene and the injured were flown by helicopter to hospitals in the nearby Austrian city of Salzburg.

There were fears that some of injured who were trapped could freeze to death, given temperatures just below freezing. 

"The chance to save someone naturally becomes smaller the longer the search lasts," said district fire chief Rudi Zeif, who added that the search will continue until the last person has been found.

The head of a local ice hockey club, Thomas Rumpeltes, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur, dpa that shortly before the rink's roof collapsed city officials informed him they planned to clear snow from the structure.

This took place at 3:30 p.m. (1430 GMT) and Rumpeltes said the youth hockey team training training session was subsequently cancelled. Thirty minutes later the roof caved in, apparently under the snow's weight.

Rumpeltes stressed that nobody had any idea the structure was in danger of collapsing and that the snow removal had been a precautionary measure.

Police spokesman Fritz Braun said Monday the rink was due to close at 4 p.m. - the exact time of the disaster. But he said measurements had shown the building did not have enough snow on the roof to pose a threat and that clearing the roof had been planned for Tuesday.

There were apparently no efforts to evacuate the building before the disaster.

Bad Reichenhall Mayor Wolfgang Heitmeier said ice rink employees had measured the roof's snow cover on Monday to verify that the building's load limit had not been surpassed.

Heitmeier said the measured level was below the threshold and that ice rink employees decided to cancel the hockey training as a precautionary measure.

In a separate incident, two people were killed in an avalanche close to Bad Reichenhall and one other person was still missing, officials said.

Seven other people caught in the avalanche managed to free themselves.

DPA

Subject: German news

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