School collapses in Haiti: 30 dead
UPDATE: 4:09PM PST
A hillside school where roughly 500 students usually crowded into several floors collapsed during classes on Friday, killing at least 30 people and injuring many more. Rescuers used bare hands to pull bleeding students from the wreckage.
More children were believed buried in the rubble of the concrete building, and the death toll was likely to go higher, Yphosiane Vil, an civil protection official, told The Associated Press at the scene.
Neighbors suspected the building was poorly rebuilt after it partially collapsed eight years ago, said Jimmy Germain, a French teacher at the school. He said people who lived just downhill abandoned their land out of fear that the building would tumble onto them, and that the school's owner tried to buy up their vacated properties.
The concrete building's third story was still under construction, and Petionville Mayor Claire Lydie Parent told the AP she suspects a structural defect caused the collapse, not the recent rains.
Police commissioner Francene Moreau says the minister who runs the church-operated school could face criminal charges.
A school with over 200 students inside has collapsed in Haiti; up to 30 are feared dead.
The school, which also contained a kindergarten collapsed earlier today, and hundreds of bystanders dug through the rubble to reach the injured children. The United Nations peacekeepers and the Haitian Red Cross are currently on the scene.
An Associated Press reporter saw the bodies of two women who died and counted at least 20 injured children, including some bleeding profusely from head injuries.
It was not immediately clear what caused the second story of the building to collapse onto the first. A portion of the wall facing the street remained standing, and the extent of the damage to the first floor was not immediately known.
The school building in Petionville, a relatively affluent suburb, included a kindergarten as well as classes for older students. A police officer estimated as many as 200 students may have been inside the building, but no official count was available.
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Columbia, South Carolina, United States