Tel Aviv building collapse casualties recall moments under the rubble

Normal day at work turns into nightmare for construction workers when structure collapses on them.

September 5, 2016 18:46
2 minute read.
Israel building collapse

Scene of building collapse in Tel Aviv's Ramat Hachayal neigbourhood.. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)


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“I don’t remember well what happened,” says Hassan Kabah apologetically, his body still covered in rubble and bloodstains as he lays in his hospital bed at Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center.

Kabah, 22, from the Arab village Barta’a, had been doing construction work on the bottom floor of the parking structure in Tel Aviv’s Ramat Hachayal neighborhood when it collapsed on Monday morning.

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“I thought I was going to die,” he tells The Jerusalem Post in between answering questions from doctors at the emergency ward. Kabah was one of three still left in the ward, after seven others had been released. “I think I was stuck underground for about an hour,” he recalls. “How did I get out of there alive? That is from God,” he says, adding that he won’t return to construction work after such a harrowing experience.

Suleiman Mansour, 28, is waiting to be discharged and tasks his brother, Ahmad, to talk on his behalf since he doesn’t feel up to it.

Ahmad, was at work in Jerusalem when he got the phone call from his brother telling him about the accident. His brother was on the fourth level underground when the structure collapsed, and when the floors fell one on top of the other, the air pressure pushed him out.

“It was lucky,” he tells the Post.

Ahmad praises Suleiman for that fact that he didn’t just take care of himself, but carried another worker out on his back after hearing him call for help.

Another casualty, who wishes to remain anonymous, was also four levels underground when the structure collapsed.

He waited, fully conscious for over an hour under the rubble until soldiers and Magen David Adom paramedics rescued him, a tiny gap in between the mounds of rubble enabling him to breathe. “I didn’t know if I would live or die,” he says. He could hear the screams of others as parts of the structure continued to fall on them.

He arrived to the hospital in satisfactory condition, with a head and chest injury, according to Dr. Jiries Shehadeh. “We’re waiting for the results of his CT scan now, but it seems as though his condition is pretty good.”

Dr. Shehadeh, who had been at the hospital since the morning, said that after receiving a message about the accident, the staff transferred all their patients to the hospital’s other emergency ward in preparation for the expected casualties from the building site.

“It wasn’t clear at the time how many casualties we would receive or what condition they would be in,” he said, remarking that those left in the emergency ward were all stable.

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