Rescuers with sniffer dogs and heavy cranes have been working through the night to pull people from the rubble of an ice rink in southern Germany after the building’s roof collapsed under heavy snow. This afternoon police said 11 people were known to have died and several others were still unaccounted for.
It is thought that about 50 people were inside the skating rink in the Bavarian town of Bad Reichenhall when the roof fell in yesterday afternoon. Many of them were local children. In addition to injuries sustained in the collapse, rescuers feared any survivors could be suffering from hypothermia. Before the collapse, officials cancelled a training session for the local ice hockey team, amid concern over the volume of snow building up. However, the town’s mayor, Wolfgang Heitmeyer, insisted there had been no immediate safety threat. “My employees measured the weight of the snow like every year and it was below the limit,” he said. Tents were set up at the scene so that the less seriously injured could be cared for. A team from the Red Cross in Salzburg, over the border in Austria, was also involved in the rescue. They were hampered by snow and by the danger that concrete and twisted metal could collapse on them.