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King Philippe calls Mayor of Antwerp after school building collapse

Copyright by World Economic Forum/Faruk Pinjo

On Friday,, a school building under construction partially collapsed in Antwerp, Belgium. 

Shortly after the news was made public and confirmed by reliable sources, His Majesty King Philippe had a phone call with the Mayor of Antwerp, Mr Bart de Wever. 

The Antwerp Fire Brigade had confirmed on Friday afternoon that already more than 10 people had been rescued alive from the rubble and that they were in contact with several others that remained trapped under the rubble. 

The rescue services asked people to clear the area, including asking residents to shelter in place and to leave space for the first responders to work. The city has also asked residents of the area to keep their doors and windows closed to avoid the dust that may be lifted in the rescue process. 

The primary school was supposed to open to pupils on the 1st of September, and work had been intensified to meet the deadline. There are still several people missing, and, according to family members, they could be a group of Portuguese workers. 

The cause of the collapse is not yet known. The construction firm has joined first responders and is providing equipment to stabilise the collapsed structure and to help avoid further injuries. The rescue team has brought sniffing dogs and a drone to help search for any survivors. 

On Saturday morning, it was revealed that two people have been found dead, and four still are missing. 

His Majesty King Philippe is set to visit the site on Saturday afternoon to personally express his condolences to the families of the two victims, to wish a speedy recovery to the injured and to be close to the families of the four missing men. 

UPDATE: On Saturday, 19 June, at around 4:30pm, the Belgian Monarchy’s Twitter account posted two pictures of King Philippe visiting the site of the accident, thanking first responders for their work and wishing all the injured a speedy recovery.

Please note that this is a developing story.