Rescuers still searching for buried student
Rescue workers continued their search overnight for a young man who was buried last week when Cologne’s historical archive collapsed, authorities said on Monday.
The work to find the 24-year-old design student was made more difficult because each piece of rubble must be removed individually for safety reasons, a fire department spokesperson explained. The accident site remains unstable due to rainfall softening the already precarious ground beneath, which also puts nearby buildings at risk of collapse.
Meanwhile the question of who’s to blame for the accident that killed a 17-year-old man and destroyed or endangered valuable historical documents is reaching a fever pitch. There is speculation the construction of a subway tunnel in front of the archive building may have contributed to its collapse. The site reportedly had repeated problems with groundwater leaking into the tunnel, which could have weakened the building’s foundations.
Rescuers found the body of a missing 17-year-old baker’s apprentice early on Sunday morning. He lived in the same apartment building as the missing 24-year-old man. Both are believed to have been pulled into the collapse from their top-floor apartments as the archive tore the side of their building off last Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities now fear they will not find the 24-year-old alive.
Some 150 workers are also trying to save the historical documents within the rubble by protecting them from the rain with a temporary roof.