Photo Credit: Herman Pieters, Garden Route Municipality

Mr Gabriel Guambe spent 118 hours in the rubble of the collapsed construction site without food or water; he has sent his heartfelt thanks to the rescuers who have spent days trying to save lives.


George, South Africa (12 May 2024) – There was a massive celebration at the Victoria Street construction site collapse after the removal of heavy rubble found a survivor. 32-year-old Mr Gabriel Guambe was found 118 hours after the collapse, alive and with minor injuries.

On the afternoon of the 6th of May 2024, a multi-storey construction site collapsed on Victoria Street in George, Western Cape. Hundreds of rescue personnel and volunteers have been working on-site to try and remove the rubble that has left so many people unaccounted for.

At the time of the tragic accident, 75 workers were reportedly within the building site; that number has since been changed to 81. At the time of reporting, before the 9 am update for Sunday, the 12th of May 2024, 42 workers had been removed from the rubble, and sadly, thirteen had passed away. There are still 39 people unaccounted for. We will update these numbers later today once the new reports have been issued.

The Garden Route District JOC George Municipality shared a heartwarming update on the 11th of May 2024, at 19:30, that one of the recently recovered survivors was doing well and had a message of gratitude for his rescuers:

“The 32-year-old Mr. Gabriel Guambe, a survivor who was trapped under the rubble, wants to express his gratitude to all the rescue personnel for their relentless efforts. He shares an inspiring message with the teams onsite, encouraging them to continue their dedication and hard work during the challenging task of searching for those still unaccounted for. Mr. Guambe is recovering well in the hospital, having remarkably sustained only minor injuries. He is doing extremely well, especially considering he went 118 hours without food or water. He recently had his first meal in the hospital and is in good spirits.”

The message was shared with a video of Mr Guambe, who could be seen smiling from his hospital bed. He expressed his gratitude for his rescuers and their continued efforts in saving his and his colleague’s lives.

Calls for very specialised help have now been issued. If you can assist with the below, please contact Kholiswa Jobela at 078 210 5972 or Apolus Swart at 061 504 4205. Please only call these numbers if you can actively assist with the very specific request for language psychosocial support!

“In our ongoing efforts to assist survivors and their families, we urgently call for professional psychosocial support practitioners proficient in Chewa, Portuguese, and Shona languages.”

For those wanting to help in other ways, the teams need drinking water, Lucozade, wine gums, or any food for the emergency services while they are on site. Delivery of these items can be taken to the tent site via Ivy Street at 79 Victoria St, Delplan Consulting which is being manned by Gift of the Givers and Herman Pienaar of LoveGeorge.

Safety equipment is also needed. Safety equipment including helmets, safety goggles, headlamps and construction gloves are needed. If anyone can assist, please deliver to GRDM Fire Station on Pearl Road, Tamsui Industria.

A charity fund has also been established by the municipality to cover any additional costs that arise for the continued rescue efforts. Donations can be made to:

George Municipality: Relief and Charitable Fund
Cheque Acc: 9149554208

Our hearts, our prayers and and good wishes are with everyone in George. And our condolences to the families that are mourning the losses of their loved ones.

Sources: George Municipality
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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