Collapse of Tel Aviv Parking Garage Was Result of Negligence, Rescue Workers Suspect

'The thickness of the iron, the joints, the amount of concrete can't hold up such a structure, you don’t need to be an engineer to understand that.'

Rescue workers from the Home Front Command at the site of the collapsed multi-level parking garage under construction in Tel Aviv.
Ofer Vaknin

On the second day of rescue operations, and after they had begun clearing away considerable debris from the site, professionals are beginning to understand what led to the collapse of a Tel Aviv parking garage.

Three people were killed and another four people were still feared trapped after the multi-level parking lot, still under construction, collapsed on Monday morning, injuring over 20 people, police said. Some 200 Home Front Command rescue personnel were currently working at the site.

If on the day of the incident rescue workers and Home Front Command professionals refrained from speaking explicitly, by Tuesday many were saying that the collapse was the result of oversight and negligence on the part of company operating at the site.  

"Just seeing the amount of iron in the walls and the fact that there aren’t substantial beams is enough to understand that someone here didn’t build this properly," said a Home Front Command official. "The thickness of the iron, the joints, the amount of concrete, [they] can't hold up such a structure, you don’t need to be an engineer to understand that."

Police continued to question the work managers of several companies that operate at the site on Tuesday. Police claim that in light of the information provided by professionals, there's a likely suspicion of negligence on the part of the operating company. Senior police officials say that while at the moment the investigation is focused on workers at the site, it's believed that more senior officials in the operating companies will also be investigated on the basis of these allegations.

The first floor of the structure, which was meant to serve as a garden, collapsed into the building, in effect leading to a vast amount of earth burying all the other floors, which collapsed down to level -4. It involved the total collapse of all the beams and cement strips one on top of the other, in what is professionally known as a "pancake collapse."    

"We're operating according to the likelihood of the location of those trapped," said Lt. Col. Yonatan Raz of the Home Front Command. He added that intelligence was gathered from passersby, cellular phones, the work of sniffer dogs, workers at the site and those wounded. "We have a good intelligence overview of the site and of the possible location of those trapped."