in Durban hotel
Durban, South Africa
People stuck inside the Seaboard Hotel wait for a
helicopter to rescue them on top of the building.
(S'bu Mfeka, The Witness)
Durban - The fire in the 32-storey Seaboard Hotel
in Durban has spread to the 12th floor.
There were still between 50 and 60 people on the
roof, awaiting evacuation on Monday night.
Five firemen have been injured, four by smoke inhalation
and one with minor burns.
Two firemen who were trapped in the building earlier
in the night were among the five, who have all been
taken to hospital.
Thekwini fire chief Mark Te Water said the greatest
difficulty was getting a reliable water supply. Crews
from six fire stations had been pulled in to fight
Three helicopters used in airlift
Three helicopters joined in the airlift: one SA Police
Service chopper, one ports authority chopper that
usually carried harbour pilots out to incoming ships,
and an SA Air Force Oryx.
Flames on the 11th floor had subsided.
At least 70 people were airlifted off the roof earlier
as flames ripped through the 10th and 11th floors.
A 70-year-old man was found sleeping on the 14th
floor by the police's search-and-rescue unit. He was
overcome by smoke inhalation.
They carried him up 18 floors to the roof top.
The 11th floor of the building was occupied by detectives
of the Point police station.
Police dockets destroyed
Captain Adele Sonekus said: "All my certificates
are up there, and all my dockets for my cases.
"What's not destroyed by the fire, will be by
Among those rescued was a seven-month-old baby, Loubeine
The nearby Palm View Hotel responded to the crisis
by making cups of tea for the survivors and medical
A hydraulic platform - a crane with a hose - was
at the hotel, its spray only reaching to the 8th,
9th and 10th floors.
Police were posted to keep curious crowds of onlookers
away so that firemen could work.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier S'bu Ndebele arrived at the
hotel and eThekwini municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe
and the safety and security MEC, Bheki Cele, also
Earlier, loudspeakers issued messages in English,
Zulu and Portuguese, telling occupants to get to the
Hundreds of people gathered at the corner of West
Street and Brickhill Road, watching the flames dance.