US & Canada

Search on hold in Canada shopping centre collapse

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Media captionRick Hamilton, Mayor of Elliot Lake: ''The area is still unstable and dangerous''

Officials in Canada's Ontario province have suspended a search for survivors at a shopping centre where a roof collapsed, killing one.

A spokesman for the rescue team said on Monday the building is "totally unsafe" and could crumble at any time.

The number of people unaccounted for after the roof caved in on Saturday at Algo Centre Mall in the city of Elliot Lake remains unclear.

Rescuers said a life detector indicated a person was alive inside the building.

Bill Needles, spokesman from the Toronto Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team, says the building's condition has deteriorated.

"Our team is certainly not happy," he told CBC News . "I'm not happy, nobody's happy that we have to stop work. But that's unfortunately the way we've had to end this situation."


About 22 people received minor injuries as a result of the accident, police said.

Earlier, officials reported hearing tapping sounds coming from within the rubble.

Image caption Eyewitnesses described the collapse as being like a "mini-earthquake"

"There were signs of life," a spokesman from the Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team said.

Images from the scene had shown the hand and foot of a victim caught in the debris. Police later confirmed the pictures showed the body of the person who died.

Witnesses described the collapse as a "mini-earthquake", which sent water gushing from pipes.

Several cars appeared to have fallen through the gaping hole near some escalators, one employee at the shopping centre told the Associated Press.

Initial reports suggested that nine people were missing, but that the situation on the ground was changing.

The cause of the collapse is unclear, although reports say the shopping centre had problems with water leakage from its roof.

"To those who have been injured, to those families of missing individuals, we offer our deepest sympathies," said Levon Nazarian, son of the owner of the centre, according to the Canadian Globe and Mail newspaper.

"We are, and will be co-operating with the authorities to provide them with any helpful resources that are at our disposal," Mr Nazarian said.