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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 17:09 GMT
Poland hall designer suicide bid
Rescuers in Katowice
Rescuers fear the death toll in Katowice could still rise
A designer of the Polish trade hall that collapsed killing 63 people has tried to commit suicide, a spokesman for local prosecutors said.

The civil engineer tried to kill himself two days after Saturday's disaster but "was saved and is in hospital", the spokesman said.

Poland observed three days of mourning after the collapse in the southern city of Katowice, which also injured 150.

Officials warn more bodies may be found in the twisted metal of the trade hall.

Fissures

Tomasz Tadla, the spokesman for Katowice prosecutors, said the civil engineer "certainly has information that could help determine the cause" of the disaster.

"He was saved and is in hospital, where a prosecutor has questioned him," Mr Tadla told Polish television.

There are probably another 15 or so bodies buried in the rubble
Krzysztof Mejer,
governor's spokesman

He declined to give further details on the designer but said a preliminary inquiry had shown "that the hall had lots of faults, but we cannot say if they were a direct cause of the catastrophe".

Initial reports suggested the weight of snow on the roof had caused the collapse. However, a lawyer for the company that runs the hall said the snow had been cleared.

Polish media have quoted witnesses as saying fissures were found in the roof four years ago. One witness said the roof had subsequently been reinforced.

The final death toll for the disaster remains in doubt. On Monday it was revised down from 67 to 62.

Now it stands at 63 but Krzysztof Mejer, a spokesman for the office of the governor of the region, told the AFP news agency: "There are probably another 15 or so bodies buried in the rubble."

Most of the known victims were Polish, but those killed also include nine people from Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Hundreds of people were in the exhibition hall for a racing pigeon show.

The rescue effort is continuing with infrared cameras and sniffer dogs.

Local fire chief Janusz Skulich said the hunt for bodies would go on for "at least a few more days".



SEE ALSO:
Your pictures: Europe's freeze
27 Jan 06 |  In Pictures
Country profile: Poland
10 Jan 06 |  Country profiles


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