Patients 'trapped' after roof collapses at hospital in Johannesburg

I have seen the collapsed roof section at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital and I hope desperately that there are no deaths.

Emergency services are now on the scene and working in the main entrance of the hospital where the incident happened and are digging to ascertain if there are no other people trapped under the rubble. "Rescue workers are busy on the scene at the moment trying to ascertain the safety", ER24 spokesman Russel Meiring said.

It is unclear at this stage what caused the structure to collapse, although bystanders on the scene have confirmed that the roof above the entrance was now under construction with new roofing being installed.

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

The structural collapse of the roof section happened while private construction workers were filling in a leaking section of the roof at the hospital.

Heavy rain was hampering the rescue efforts at the hospital, one of South Africa's biggest. Hamnca said he tried to get hold of the hospital's CEO, but was unsuccessful as she was in a meeting.

"All I saw was the roof collapse, and then there was a lot of dust. They were doing it in phases, seal one area and move the rubble in another area, and in that process a part of the roof collapsed".

Sharing a picture of the roof collapse on Twitter, he wrote: "The devastation at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital - I warned years ago that the hospital was structurally unsound".

The Gauteng Department of Health confirmed the incident in a statement on Thursday.

More emergency services are still arriving.

  • Lila Blake