2 Still Missing In Rink Collapse

Rescue workers try find people under the collapsed roof of a skating rink in Bad Reichenhall, southern Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006. Rescuers dug with construction equipment, shovels and their hands in freezing weather to find people feared trapped following a roof collapse at a Bavarian skating rink that killed at least 10 people, including four children. (AP Photo/Diether Endlicher) AP

Rescue workers recovered two more bodies Wednesday from the wreckage of a collapsed skating rink in Bavaria, raising the death toll to 13, including at least seven children. Two people are still missing and hopes are slim for finding any survivors.

The bodies were found several hours apart Wednesday after rescue crews and dogs resumed their search of the debris following a lengthy break forced by fears that the wrecked roof – believed to have caved in originally from the weight of 8 inches of snow - could cave in even further.

Crews were able to re-enter the building in the Alpine spa town of Bad Reichenhall a little before 4 a.m.

With two loud cracks, the roof collapsed Monday afternoon after a heavy snowfall with about 50 people inside, including many children enjoying an outing during school vacation.

On Tuesday, one of the collapsed ceiling crossbeams shifted and put pressure on a remaining wall, forcing the rescue workers to clear out for their own safety.

Special cranes were brought in and spent Tuesday night and early Wednesday tearing away pieces of the facade and the remains of the roof. When they had cleared enough debris to make two-fifths of the skating rink accessible, the rescuers re-entered.

Fire official Rudi Zeif pledged Tuesday that "we will continue the search until we have rescued or recovered all the missing."

Asked if any of the missing could still be alive, Zeif noted that earthquake victims have survived for several days.

Pumping warm air into the area was considered, but ruled out because it could melt snow, leaving any survivors wet and colder than before. Rescuers hoped the snow could produce an "igloo effect" that might create relatively warm pockets of air.

Rescuers using dogs, shovels and their hands found a 5-year-old girl with only minor injuries late Monday, but had found no one alive and heard no calls for help since then.

  • Melissa McNamara

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