Fifth body pulled from rubble of Tel Aviv garage collapse
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Fifth body pulled from rubble of Tel Aviv garage collapse

One construction worker still unaccounted for as hopes fade of finding him alive; emergency personnel working to identify remains

Soldiers in the IDF Home Front Command fill bags with rubble during the rescue effort at a collapsed parking garage in Tel Aviv's Ramat Hahayal neighborhood on September 6, 2016. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)
Soldiers in the IDF Home Front Command fill bags with rubble during the rescue effort at a collapsed parking garage in Tel Aviv's Ramat Hahayal neighborhood on September 6, 2016. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)

Rescue workers at the site of a collapsed garage in Tel Aviv in Friday night removed a fifth body from the rubble, four days after the four-story underground complex caved in, burying construction workers under a pile of sand and debris.

The tragic find came just hours after IDF search and rescue forces from the Home Front Command located the body of the fourth person to be found dead at the site. Rescue personnel began working to retrieve the man’s remains from the wreckage for identification and burial.

Now rescue personnel are trying to locate just one more missing worker, even as hope faded that the hundreds digging through the site would find him alive.

Two victims killed in the collapse were named Wednesday as Oleg Yakubov, aged 60 from Tel Aviv, and Dennis Dyachenko, 28, a Ukrainian national employed in Israel. The name of a third fatality, Ihad Ajhaj, 34, from Bayt Rima, northwest of Ramallah, was made public on Tuesday.

Search and rescue workers remove a third body from the rubble of a collapsed parking garage in Tel Aviv on September 6, 2016. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)
Search and rescue workers remove a third body from the rubble of a collapsed parking garage in Tel Aviv on September 6, 2016. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)

The Knesset’s Labor, Welfare, and Health Committee on Thursday summoned representatives from the Danya Cebus construction company, various government ministries and police to address the fatal collapse in the Ramat Hahayal neighborhood.

The construction site was inspected in June and was not found to pose “significant” safety hazards, and the collapse was the result of an engineering failure, the panel heard.

Varda Edwards, the head of the Economy Ministry’s Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene, said the site of the garage complex — which was nearing completion — was not found to have “significant flaws” when it was inspected in June.

“There were no significant flaws,” she told the Knesset committee, describing it overall as a “relatively good inspection.”

Echoing Edwards, the chairman of the Danya Cebus company insisted the building site complied with government safety standards.

“It’s not an issue of safety,” said Ronen Ginsburg, adding that an engineer had supervised the project. “It was an engineering failure.”

Ginsburg vowed his company would cooperate fully with a police investigation into the collapse. “We won’t conceal anything and we will hand over all the materials needed for the investigation.”

Details of the investigation remained under a gag order on Friday.

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