At least three deaths have been reported in a Lagos building collapse on Monday. The 21-story skyscraper came down in Nigeria with many people suspected to still be trapped inside. Video obtained by news outlets showed first responders rushing to the scene to rescue people out of the rubble and help learn what caused the building to fall.
Located in the city’s more-affluent Ikoyi neighborhood, the building was under construction for the past two years and still in bare bones development as a luxury apartment complex. The building developer was at the site with prospective buyers on Monday, it is unknown if they are OK or if they were trapped in the collapse.
According to BBC News, one person was confirmed dead, trapped in the Lagos building collapse. Two more bodies, mangled on top of the rubble, were found by first responders. Ten people were rescued as the building is cleared, but dozens more are suspected to be trapped inside. The victims’ names have not yet been revealed. Those still trapped have yet to be identified as well.
“I thought it was an earthquake when I rushed out of my apartment just after 3 p.m.,” Olu Apata, a resident nearby, told CNN. “I felt the building move and knew something was wrong.”
Video of the Lagos building collapse surfaced shortly after, as people joined the relief efforts and helped search through wreckage or mill about the site. The Nigerian Red Cross later arrived to offer aide.
One passerby, Rashid Olamilekan, told CNN that he helped rescue three construction workers. “I am a Nigerian,” he said. “I have to rescue my people.”
The Lagos State Emergency Service (LASEMA) is currently investigating to find out what happened and why the building collapsed.
According to BBC News, Fourscore Heights Limited, the clients for the building, had disagreements with Prowess Engineering Limited, and replaced them with new structural engineers, Beyond Designs, back in February.
Prowess Engineering Limited had previously stated that they did not share the same vision with how the owner of the building wanted to carry out the project and formally withdrew their structural consultancy service.
Eric Tetteh, a construction worker who managed to escape the Lagos building collapse, told AP News that even though he and his brother were able to get out, he imagined there were probably 100 people still trapped inside.
Olayemi Bello, a nearby resident, said that five of his friends were believed to be trapped inside. “When they work finish, they will come outside and they will play with us and talk about the work,” he said. “Now, nobody. All of them are dead.”
Lagos’ Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, is said to have visited the horrific site seen in videos shared on social media.
According to CNN, building collapses are unfortunately common in Lagos, where regulators argue that the laws are not strict enough to enforce building code violations.
In 2019, two separate buildings collapsed in Lagos, leaving dozens of people dead. One terrifying incident involved a school, which killed over 20 young students trapped inside.
“There are over 1,000 distressed other buildings of this nature in Lagos,” said Kunle Awobodu, a spokesman for the Building Collapse Prevention Guild. “If nothing is done to demolish them, they will still collapse, resulting to more calamities in the state.”
Visiting the site of damaged buildings in 2019, former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode agreed that many buildings in Lagos had structural integrity problems and should be demolished.
Back in June in the United States, a Miami, Fl., apartment complex collapsed due to structural issues, resulting in the deaths of nearly 100 occupants. The collapse took place due to water damage and corrosion of the reinforced steel that was reported back in 2018 but never properly fixed.