8 Belfast Construction Workers Injured When Building Collapses

March 11, 2008

A building under construction collapsed in Northern Ireland injuring eight construction workers, including two Polish immigrants who were in critical condition, police said.

Police and emergency fire crews said they did not know yet what went wrong at the construction site in central Belfast, where more than 50 workers were building a new headquarters of the Law Society of Northern Ireland.

Witnesses said workers were pouring cement and using a crane to lay the second floor of the planned seven-story building when part of it buckled, causing a domino effect that toppled concrete pillars and scaffolds.

Several construction workers walked away from the scene, suffering from cuts and covered in dust. They said the two most seriously injured workers were Polish immigrants.

“It looks like the supports underneath the building gave way, which caused machinery to fall on top of the workers,” said construction worker Brendan Collins, 23, who was in a truck pouring concrete when the accident happened.

“I helped to rescue them. I ran in with four or five other fellows and lifted the machinery off one of them. He was covered in blood and completely crushed,” Collins said.

A security guard in a nearby building, Tommy Combs, said he ran outside when he “heard the crashing.”

“They were pouring concrete at the time and the workmen were shouting and screaming. It was like slow motion, just like watching a matchstick house collapse,” Combs said. “There was complete pandemonium.”

Firefighters and sniffer dogs search the ruins for buried survivors, but did not report finding anyone.

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