At least three people were killed and more than 10 others injured on Monday after a dining hall under construction collapsed at Prasat Kokchak pagoda in Kokchak commune, Siem Reap province.
Provincial police chief Tith Narong said Military Police, soldiers and local volunteers had successfully recovered 16 victims from the wreckage as of 6pm.
Narong said three victims succumbed to their injuries, while another 13 – including two monks and a construction manager – sustained minor to serious injuries.
“The reason for the collapse was weak construction. [Workers were] putting slabs in the dining hall at the time of the incident. No one has been arrested.
“We searched for the construction workers’ manager, but we found out that he was knocked unconscious in the collapse,” Narong said.
Police said that the structure fell in on itself as workers laid concrete on the first floor of the building inside the pagoda compound, AFP reported.
Provincial deputy police chief Phoeng Chenda Reth said in a statement that the authorities were trying to determine the exact number of victims before an official figure was released.
He said paramedics and ambulances had been dispatched to the scene to assist the victims of the collapse, while rescue teams continued the search with the aid of equipment.
Media outlet Fresh News reported that the dining hall spanned 20m by 20m and had walls measuring 8m high at the time of the incident.
A Prasat Kokchak pagoda monk told The Post that the dining hall had been under construction for several years but the supporting pillars were only put up this year.
“I don’t remember when the construction of the dining hall began, but I can say that they [were putting in] the slabs on Monday,” the monk said.
Siem Reap town governor Nuon Putheara refused to comment on the incident before all the victims were recovered.
From Vietnam, where he is on an official visit, National Committee for Disaster Management first vice-president Kun Kim ordered relevant authorities to rescue and attend to the victims promptly.