‘Excellency’ collapses | Daily News

‘Excellency’ collapses

Cracks on building ignored by administrators:

The six storey Excellency Reception Hall, sandwiched among the high risers of Wellawatte, collapsed at 11am yesterday. Around twenty five workers were suspected to have been working inside the building, undertaking construction work on one side of it.

The six storey building includes an underground parking level and four of the floors initially collapsed, with the ground floor threatening to follow. At the time of writing, the building was shaking, threatening to collapse further.

The Wellawatte Police reported that 28 were hospitalised; with nine being admitted to the Colombo National hospital and 19 to the Kalubowila Hospital. Six were reported to be missing with two others known to be trapped inside the rubble.

Director Colombo South Teaching Hospital Asela Gunawardane said one individual was left with a serious rib injury, the rest were left with minor leg and hand fractures and no death was reported.

Deputy Director, Colombo National Hospital Dr. Cyril de Silva also assured that the workers had only minor injuries and there were no life threatening injuries.

The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) had deployed 148 personnel from the 14th Battalion of the Western Commanding Unit to assist in rescue operations, while the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) has deployed 22 personnel for assistance.

According to one of the workers, the first two floors of the building were already in use and the rest were under construction . It was reported that a wedding was also supposed to be held yesterday. The police however, are yet to find the reason for the collapse of the building.

One of the police officials said that they could hear a few people screaming and added that rescue operations are underway.

Wellawatte Police said the side which was being constructed, as well as the portion of the building adjacent to the construction site has collapsed. Residential buildings surrounding it have been damaged as well. There is a parking area attached to the building, the vehicles have been removed but some have been damaged as well.

Supun Perera from EAP Films and Theatres said around 25 people work there but only nine people were recovered and admitted to hospital. “The remaining workers must be inside,” he said.

The construction of that building has been going on for the last five years, I do not know who the contractor is. The vehicles from Savoy were also parked there and they have been damaged.

A worker from Savoy said there were cracks that had appeared on that building for some time now. The administration was informed of the cracks but they did not take notice of it.

That function hall is always full; there would be a function there almost every day. People are lucky there was no function today.

Construction worker Sasi said “the building collapsed in a split second but most of us escaped through a little opening while some of us jumped through the window to save ourselves.”

The workers speaking to Daily News said that they only knew that the contractor was known to be a man called ‘Samantha’ and that he was from Kaluthara.

Sasi added that their supervisor had come to check up on them in the morning and then left. However, he was not aware of the number of people who were working in the building at the time. 

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