Nine people died after a block of flats partly collapsed in Georgia’s Black Sea resort of Batumi, the interior minister said on Saturday, with unsafe renovation work blamed for the accident.
Around five floors of the building collapsed on Friday, crushing several cars parked outside and leaving “up to 15 people” missing under the rubble, according to police.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
“I want to express my condolences to the families of the deceased. A total of nine people died,” Vakhtang Gomelauri said.
“Five minutes go we found a ninth person. It is believed that he was the last,” Gomelauri said, adding that the rescue operation had been halted over fears of the rest of the building collapsing.
Georgia on Monday will observe a national day of mourning for the victims of the accident.
Three people have been arrested, police said, identifying them as the owner of a ground-floor apartment and two construction workers he had hired.
Investigators found that the two men, acting on the owner’s orders, were working “in gross violation of safety rules, leading to the collapse of an entrance into the building.”
If convicted, the three risk between two and 10 years in prison.
Hundreds of responders were sent to the scene of the collapse on Friday, while Prime Minister Irakli Garibachvili and Gomelauri also travelled to Batumi.
Batumi -- a port town -- is the second largest city in Georgia and lies near the Turkish border in the south-west of the country.
Georgia opposition alleges election fraudGeorgia opposition parties on Sunday cried foul over municipal elections held after ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili’s arrest on his return from exile ... World News
Georgia woman arrested, charged after throwing injured puppy into oceanA woman from the US state of Georgia is currently in custody on a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals after she was seen throwing an ... World News
British naval destroyer that angered Russia docks in GeorgiaThe British destroyer Defender, which angered Russia by sailing through waters off Crimea, docked at the Georgian Black Sea port of Batumi on Saturday ... World News
EU posts bail to free jailed Georgia opposition leader MeliaThe European Union said Saturday it had posted bail for Georgia’s jailed opposition leader, Nika Melia, paving the way for his release and ending a ... World News
EU urges dialogue to defuse Georgia crisisThe European Union on Monday called on Georgia to defuse a spiraling political crisis that deepened with the arrest of a top opposition leader last ... World News