Rescuers combing through the ruins of the collapsed exhibition centre in Chorzow, Poland, have abandoned all hope of finding any more survivors, and have called off their operation to allow heavy equipment in. Three offical days of mourning have been called by the president, and it now appears that the final casualty figures are 66 dead and 141 injured.
In total 1300 rescuers took part in an all-night operation to try and save lives before they were claimed by the bitter cold. The prime minister visited the town this morning to pay his respects, urge them on, and offer sympathy to grieving relatives.
The building in Chorzow, part of the Katowice conurbation in southern Poland, was a new one, but questions are being asked about just how much snow was allowed to build up on its metal roof. The manager says his teams were regularly clearing it. Eye witnesses claim at least a metre of icy snow was packed on it in places.
The huge building, the size of a football field, had recently been constructed to host, among other events, this weekend’s major pigeon festival. It is one of Europe’s largest and has been held here, incident free, for many years.