Witnesses and survivors described a residential development’s destruction as an act of god on Nov. 10.
A two-storey building collapsed in eastern Turkey, burying 21 people under heavy debris.
Authorities deployed 260 rescue workers to clear massive concrete slabs and piles of wood at the Malatya site. They used a mix of construction diggers and their bare hands to remove debris.
Interior Ministry spokesman Ismail Catakli confirmed 13 survivors were pulled from the rubble. Regional Gov. Aydin Barus revealed five of those rescued were still hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries at the time of publication.
A further eight others fled the scene without assistance from rescue workers.
“I heard a crack first, and then the building collapsed,” witness Turhan Cobanoglu said according to Newsbreak. “A cloud of dust emerged, it was like Judgment Day.”
Closed-circuit television footage shows the structure abruptly crumbled. A large cloud of dust rises into the air. Passers-by quickly help those trapped under rubble.
Residents were shopping on their way home from work at the bustling thoroughfare when the destruction occurred.
“Search and rescue operations in the collapsed Malatya building have come to an end,” Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said according to the publication. “Thank God there are no [dead] victims.”
The precise cause of collapse remains unknown. However, the structure is speculated to have crumbled during planned rehabilitation work, which severely damaged one wall that divides two ground-floor eateries.
Malatya’s prosecutor’s office confirmed the building’s owner and three employees have been arrested.