4 More Bodies Uncovered at Collapse Site

Rescue workers found four more bodies Thursday buried in the rubble of an apartment building that collapsed early Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 11.

The victims were mostly construction workers who were asleep in the unfinished four-story structure when it collapsed under its own weight at about 1:40 am, authorities said.

One more person is still be­lieved to be buried in the concrete and brick debris, said Meanchey district police official Hun Cham Thouen, who said relatives say one of their loved ones is still missing.

The searchers expected to find the remaining body late Thurs­day, district Deputy Governor Ou Maret said.

Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara said he would arrest building owner Mean Hour and charge him with crimes related to the collapse, though it’s not clear what the charges will be.

Chea Sophara said he wants Mean Hour to surrender to auth­or­ities. He also wants Mean Hour to help cover the costs of victims’ cremations.

Hun Cham Thouen said the owner’s family has agreed to pay 100,000 riel (about $26) to each family for cremations.

If Mean Hour turns himself in, authorities said they would be more lenient when it comes time to punish him for the collapse, which has been generally blamed on shoddy construction.

The collapse left some of the people inside merely stunned, while others were crushed under bricks and sheets of concrete.

Chhun Choun, governor of Meanchey district, said 17 workers who had been asleep on the third floor of the building walked away un­harmed. A woman and her toddler also survived after laying trapped in the rubble for nearly 12 hours. The woman’s husband was crushed to death.

Local authorities say they told Mean Hour that the building would not stand.

The authorities said Mean Hour ignored the warnings about poor construction and hired guards to keep inspectors off his property.




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