5 injured as hotel building collapses in Jamaica…stop order placed on construction

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Kingston, Jamaica – The collapse yesterday of a section of the Blue Diamond Royalton Hotel currently under construction in Negril, Hanover,  forced Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie to have the parish council issue a 30-day stop order on the project, while he named a three-member team headed by National Works Agency boss EG Hunter to investigate the incident.

These men check under the rubble for workers who may have been trapped after the collapse of the building at the construction site.
These men check under the rubble for workers who may have been trapped after the collapse of the building at the construction site.

Hunter’s team will include Kingston and St Andrew Corporation City Engineer Norman Shand, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s Chief Technical Director Dwight Wilson.

Five men who were working at the hotel site when the building gave way were rescued by the Jamaica Fire Brigade Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Three of the five remained in hospital last night, with one suffering from a serious injury to the eye.

“… So far, information confirmed is that five people were taken to hospital. Two persons were treated and released and there are three others, one of whom was due to be transferred to the Cornwall Regional Hospital with a severe eye injury,” said Daryl Vaz, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

Vaz, who yesterday spoke with the press following a tour of the hotel construction site, expressed condolence to the family of those injured.

Workmen said they were working overnight, pouring concrete, when about 5:13 am a section of the roof of the three-storey building collapsed onto the second floor.

“Mi hear di man dem under the building a bawl fi help and nobody a help because they (emergency crew) only have the thing dem a push, push through the thing (rubble). Wi (workers) needed to go over there go help the youth dem because wi black brother dem over there a dead,” one construction worker pleaded to police and firefighters who had sealed off the scene.

Other workers joined the plea, and the police eventually allowed about 20 people onto the property to assist with the search and rescue efforts.

Superintendent Gary Morgan, who is in charge of the EMS, said approximately 25 emergency workers and firefighters responded, while another three from the Ministry of Health later joined in the search and rescue. Doctors, other medical officials and Jamaica Defence Force soldiers were also on location.

Workers said the project was originally schedule to be completed over a four-year period. However, they alleged that the owners were trying to complete it in 18 months, hence the pouring of concrete at nights with poor visibility.

The more than 500-room all-inclusive resort was planning to open for business between later this year and next year, one of the workers said. (Jamaica Observer)

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