South Africa hospital roof collapses, trapping several people

Charlotte Maxeke hospital. Image Twitter

Several patients are trapped after a section of roof at the entrance of a large hospital in South Africa collapsed, emergency service officials have said.

"There are several patients trapped".

It is unclear whether there are more people trapped but rescue officers continue to work on the scene with heavy machinery brought to dig through the debris.

Footage on social media showed rescue workers digging at the rubble with their bare hands.

A section of the roof at the hospital caved in near the facility's main entrance, prompting an evacuation.

Co-operative governance MEC Jacob Mamabolo, who is responsible for infrastructure, blamed the roof's collapse on shoddy workmanship by contractors waterproofing the roof.

Jack Bloom, health spokesman for the Democratic Alliance in Gauteng, said he warned the hospital was "structurally unsound".

Gauteng Department of Health issued a statement saying the roof collapse took place in a passage near the maternity department on the Hospital Street side.

The entire hospital must be urgently assessed to ensure it is safe.

Emergency services are now on the scene trying to stabilise the main entrance where the collapse happened.

Gauteng provincial health minister Gwen Ramokgopa said workers were on the roof when it collapsed into a public area of the Charlotte Maxeke hospital in central Johannesburg.

ER24 paramedics are working hand-in-hand with other emergency services and have already gone through a portion of the rubble.

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