The Malta Independent 3 June 2020, Wednesday

Updated (3) - Mother of two found dead in Hamrun home collapse

Monday, 2 March 2020, 14:45 Last update: about 4 months ago

A 54-year-old mother of two died in a house collapse in Hamrun on Monday afternoon.

The building, located in Joseph Abela Scolari Street, and which is adjacent to a constructrion site, collapsed at around 2.15pm.

The body of Miriam Pace was located at around 10pm and was retreived around 15 minutes later, a police spokesperson confirmed.

The body was taken to the mortuary, where investigations will continue. 

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The search for the missing woman lasted lasted just under 8 hours. Sniffer dogs and a drone were used during the operation. 

Photographs and footage of the scene show part of the residence that has given way, falling into an adjacent empty plot. A car can also be seen parked under debris in a garage which formed part of the house, which is adjacent to a construction site.

People who live in the vicinity said that they heard a loud noise, which they thought was an explosion or an earthquake. 

One of the people who live nearby commented that she rushed to the balcony to see a huge plume of dust.

The police spokesman said that people in residences touching the building that collapsed have been evacuated.

Photos/Videos - Alenka Falzon

The police spokesperson said a call came in at around 2.15pm that an accident had taken place near a construction site in Hamrun.

Units from the District Police, the Rapid Intervention Unit and the Civil Protection Department went on site, he said. It was later established that a woman who lived in the residence which collapsed was inside the building at the time and a search was mounted to locate her. Relatives and friends of the woman gathered on site following the search operation.

The police had appealed to motorists to avoid the area so that the emergency services will not be hindered.

Prime Minister Robert Abela and Home Minister Byron Camilleri were for a time on the scene of the accident. In a brief comment to the media, Abela said that it was still early to comment on the accident, adding he was shocked to hear the news.

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia also spoke to the family during a visit to the site. He expressed solidarity with the family affected by the tragedy. Whilst noting that accidents like this one are becoming more common, the PN said that all efforts now should be put into finding the missing woman. 

A magisterial inquiry led by Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit is underway.

Last year, several buildings collapsed, pushing the government to present a reform of the construction industry.

In April, an apartment block, located on Guardamangia Hill, Pieta, collapsed, luckily injuring no-one.

In June, a wall of a block of apartments in Pieta, border with Hamrun, also gave way, again injuring no-one.

That same month, a four-storey building collapsed in Main Street, Mellieħa.

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