Bad Reichenhall wants journalists to stay away

6th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

6 January 2006, BAD REICHENHALL, GERMANY - The German town that lost 12 children and three women when the roof of an ice-rink collapsed this week warned pushy journalists Friday that they were not welcome.

6 January 2006

BAD REICHENHALL, GERMANY - The German town that lost 12 children and three women when the roof of an ice-rink collapsed this week warned pushy journalists Friday that they were not welcome.

Tempers have frayed in Bad Reichenhall, population 18,000, this week as camera teams have waylaid exhausted rescuers to interview them or launched a hunt for municipal officials to blame for the failure of the roof when it was overloaded with snow.

"You've printed too much garbage already," said an elderly man as he refused to stop when accosted on a street by a journalist for comment.

At Bad Reichenhall's main church, a sign, "Photography strictly prohibited", went up and media were asked to stay away before an ecumenical service Saturday for the families bereaved by the collapse and by an avalanche during the same snowstorm that killed three.

A public service attended by state politicians in memory of the 15 skaters and the three avalanche victims will be held next week.

Hubertus Andrae, district chief of police, appealed again to the media to respect the privacy of police and fire officers who had worked round the clock at the scene. He said some media had ignored his previous appeals not to yank tired workers into the spotlight.

"We find it inhuman. It creates the impression that some media people think they can do what they like," said Andrae, adding that he wanted to thank the many media people who did show respect.

The disaster scene was semi-deserted Friday, reserved for investigators who are likely to spend weeks seeking clues as to why the roof fell in Monday while skaters were turning figures on the ice.

It emerged Friday that two local children whose father died recently were left orphans by the collapse: their mother and younger sister were killed.

On the town square, candles continued to burn in memory of the dead. Poignant notes and souvenirs included a scarf from the EAC Bad Reichenhall ice hockey club, whose amateur players escaped death when their Monday evening practice at the rink was cancelled.

Germany's national architects' federation meanwhile warned that calls this week for annual checks of all public buildings in the wake of the disaster might be an over-reaction. Consultant engineers had earlier called for a permanent regime of inspections.

The federation said construction in Germany was already heavily regulated.

DPA

Subject: German news

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