29 March 2013 12:58

 DAR ES SALAAM- At least 15 people were killed in Tanzania's commercial capital on Friday when a building under construction collapsed, a police officer said at the scene where rescuers scrabbled to find survivors.

The building of 12 or more storeys fell in the Kariakoo district in central Dar es Salaam. Witnesses at the site, where some people were using their hands to pull away fallen masonry, said the building fell near where children had been playing.

Tanzania's buoyant economy has fuelled a construction boom and Kariakoo in particular has been a focus for building. The speed of construction has raised concerns over standards.

"Fifteen bodies have been recovered from the rubble," Dar es Salaam Police Commander Suleiman Kova told reporters at the site. "So far, only two people have been rescued alive, but the rescue operation is still ongoing."

Witnesses said dozens of construction workers were in the building when it fell. Others said boys had been playing soccer in a mosque playground next to the building.

"There are several people trapped inside the building," said Hamisi Mgosi, a trader in Kariakoo. "A boy called his father through his cellphone from inside the collapsed building and told him he can't breathe."

Senior government officials also gathered at the scene.


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