Four construction workers have died after scaffolding collapsed in the northern German city of Hamburg on Monday, emergency officials said. Rescue work at the site is expected to last into the evening.
The fire brigade said four bodies had been recovered, and all workers had now been accounted for. Another man was critically injured in the accident.
The fire brigade spokesman said that a scaffold had fallen into a lift shaft, plummeting from the eighth floor to the basement.
The debris is piled up from the basement to the level of the second floor and must be removed from top to bottom.
"The difficulty is, of course, that we have a lot of scaffolding here that has to be secured and we have to first approach the scene floor by floor all the way down," a fire brigade spokesperson explained.
The incident commander had described the mountain of rubble as "a giant jigsaw puzzle with all the scaffolding poles." A total of about 150 firefighters are on duty.
Specialists from the State Criminal Investigation Office have begun an initial investigation on site. "However, it is still too early to assess the cause of the accident," said a police spokesperson.
Counsellors have been called in to care for the emergency responders and witnesses. A crisis intervention team had also been sent to the scene.
The accident occurred at the Überseequartier in the HafenCity district, where a shopping mall, restaurants, offices and hotels are being built on the harbour.
Between 1,300 and 1,500 people were working there, said a site manager. After the accident the building was closed and all those working there had to leave the area.
- Construction workers