A mall collapsed in Tongaat, South Africa, on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. South African police said one person died and 26 were injured in a roof collapse at the shopping mall, which was under construction. Tongaat is near the eastern coastal city of Durban, and rescue teams rushed to the scene to help workers who were trapped beneath the rubble. Neil Powell/Crisis Medical/Associated Press
A roof at a South African shopping mall that was under construction collapsed on Tuesday, killing one person and injuring 26, police said.
Municipal authorities had obtained a court order a month ago to block construction at the mall, a senior official said.
"There are areas of the law that they did not follow in terms of building of this infrastructure," Deputy Mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala told broadcaster ENCA. "We were not aware that they were continuing building."
Rescue teams used sniffer dogs and spotlights as the search for survivors stretched into the night.
The collapse occurred in Tongaat, near the eastern coastal city of Durban. Rescue teams rushed to the scene to help workers who were trapped beneath the rubble.
"The dogs are now combing the area for survivors," police spokeswoman Mandy Govender said. "There's just chunks and chunks of concrete, and we don't know what's underneath."
Photographs taken by Crisis Medical, a medical response company, showed slabs of concrete and toppled scaffolding at the mall, which sits beside railway tracks. First responders parked their vehicles nearby, emergency lights flashing. Some carried stretchers with injured workers from the rubble.
Authorities appealed to residents in the area to stay away from the scene so that rescue teams could work more quickly.