Latin America & Caribbean

Medellin tower blocks demolished after collapse

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Media captionThe controlled demolition toppled four tower blocks at the Space apartment complex

Engineers in the Colombian city of Medellin have blown up four tower blocks which had been deemed unsafe following a deadly collapse.

Twelve people died last October when a concrete pillar gave way in Tower 6, causing the 24-storey building to topple.

Tower 5 had been blown up in February.

Two hundred kilos (440lb) of explosives were used in the demolition, which happened at 09:00 (15:00 BST) on Tuesday.

Mountain of rubble

Four nearby apartment buildings were evacuated ahead of the detonations and roads in a 100m-radius (330ft) were closed.

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Image caption Rescue workers searched the site for more than a week before locating the bodies of those who died
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Twelve of the 13 people who were inside Tower 6 at the time of the collapse were killed

The demolition just took a few seconds.

Engineers said they had drilled 1,200 holes into the structures, where they would place the explosives.

The removal of the 30,000 cubic metres of rubble created by the demolition is expected to take a month and a half.

Evacuation

Before the collapse, residents had noticed cracks appearing in the walls and ceilings of the luxury Space apartment complex, which had only been completed earlier in 2013.

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Image caption The apartments were sold for between $100,000 (£61,000) and $265,000 (£162,000)

An evacuation order by the local authorities the day before the building toppled averted a bigger disaster.

Twelve people were killed when Tower 6 collapsed late on 12 October. One was a resident who is believed to have returned to the building to retrieve some belongings, nine were workers sent in to assess the fault, and two were security guards.

Another security guard was the only person who was inside the complex at the time to survive.

The company that had built the complex, CDO, said a structural fault in one of the concrete columns was to blame.

The prosecutor's office said it would charge the company's legal representative and a number of its employees with manslaughter, which they deny.

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