Scene of building collapse in Tel Aviv's Ramat Hachayal neigbourhood..
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
The Ramat Hachayal business district in Tel Aviv was frantic after a multi-level parking garage still under construction collapsed on Monday, killing at least two and injuring 24 others.
Police cordoned off surrounding streets to enable quick entry of emergency services, as employees flooded out of buildings to watch IDF search and rescue teams struggle through twisted metal and concrete that once formed the ruined structure.
Uliya Bratkovski, who works at the Super-Pharm across the street, said her entire building shook. She said she felt helpless as she witnessed victims of the collapse, but felt unable to help. “You want to help but you don’t know how.”
Bratkovski rushed to the scene and took a jarring video only a few minutes after the collapse. The video showed two victims covered in dust and sitting atop the rubble as they awaited help.
The collapse of the four-story underground parking garage created a crater- like hole in ground. Seven victims were reported trapped under the rubble, with thick slabs of cement providing perilous obstacles for rescue workers.
Witnesses say the collapse was accompanied by a large boom and massive amounts of dust.
The disaster site is adjacent to the Assuta Medical Center. Doctors and nurses who weren’t attending to other emergencies at the time quickly sought to help victims.
“It was like an earthquake, that was my first thought,” said Tamar Shmuel, a nurse at the Assuta Medical Center. “I ran to look out the window and saw lots of dust, and then lots of people running in our direction. I saw everyone run out, the entire hospital from the nurses to the senior doctors – anyone who wasn’t already taking care of something urgent – ran out to help,” she said.
“There was dust everywhere and everyone started shouting,” a hospital pharmacist said. The pharmacist, identified only by the name Ehab, rushed outside as soon as he heard a loud boom. “I just hope everyone will be okay,” he said.
A representative of the United Hatzalah Trauma and Crisis Response Unit, a volunteer- based emergency medical service, helped treat shock and trauma among witnesses. “We arrived within 25 minutes to help treat the people, especially in the Assuta Hospital,” she said. “People are agitated and traumatized, it was a scary experience for them.”