Page last updated at 23:30 GMT, Sunday, 9 November 2008

Hope fades at Haiti school rescue


Rescuers continue the search at night

Rescuers at a collapsed school in Haiti are ending the search for survivors and will soon demolish the remains of the building where at least 92 people died.

No survivors have been found since four were pulled alive from the rubble of the three-storey building on Saturday, a day after it crumbled.

Rescuers had held back from using heavy equipment out of fear debris could fall on any survivors beneath the rubble.

The owner of the school, in a suburb of Port-au-Prince, has been arrested.

Angry relatives

Nadia Lochard, a Haitian civil protection director, told Reuters news agency on Sunday: "Rescue workers and experts are making the last check to be certain there is nobody alive under the debris.

Everybody is frustrated, we smell the bodies

"Then we'll change phase... We'll start using heavier means to remove the debris and blocks of concrete. We will recover all the bodies and destroy the building."

Earlier on Sunday, anger reportedly boiled over as relatives demanded rescuers speed up the search for victims in the remains of La Promesse College in Petionville.

Haitian police and UN peacekeepers in riot gear drove away a group of around 100 men who rushed onto the unstable rubble pile trying to remove debris, according to AP news agency.

"Everybody is frustrated. We smell the bodies," said 25-year-old onlooker Emmane Petitehomme.

A boy trapped in the rubble is given water before being pulled out by rescuers (7 November 2008)
A lucky few were plucked alive from the rubble

Pope Benedict XVI sent a message of sympathy to Haiti, Vatican Radio said on Sunday.

Haitian President Rene Preval, who has made several visits to the disaster site, said the school had been built with hardly any structural steel or cement to bind concrete blocks.

Rescuers had worked through the night on Saturday under floodlights in an effort to find survivors in the remains of the building. About 500 children and teachers were inside the school when it crumbled.

About 150 people were injured in the collapse.

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