Skate Rink Roof Collapse Kills 11

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)
Rescuers halted their search Tuesday for people feared trapped for nearly a full day under a collapsed skating rink roof in southeastern Germany, fearing the ruins could collapse further.

An expert survey showed "that it would be irresponsible for more rescue workers to go in," said George Grabner, a local councilor for the region around Bad Reichenhall.

Rescuers recovered two more bodies Tuesday from the rubble of an ice-skating rink whose roof collapsed, raising the death toll to 11. Six children were among the dead.

The collapse happened at 4 p.m. Monday, a school holiday. About 50 people were inside the rink, including many families.

Several people were still missing a day later, police and rescue officials said at a news conference.

Police spokesman Fritz Braun said shortly after daybreak Monday that rescuers had heard knocking sounds from the debris, more than 15 hours after the accident.

Workers with dogs were able to comb the building only several hours after the accident, once the remains of the roof were stabilized. Heavy snowfall clogged roads and delayed the arrival of heavy equipment used to move wreckage.

Police said 18 people were injured - three of them seriously - and were taken to nearby hospitals. Another 16 people escaped without injury, they said. Some 360 rescue workers are at the scene.

Fire service officials initially said the flat roof, the wreckage of which pointed up from the center of the 1970s building at an angle, appeared to have collapsed under the weight of snow.

An official with the town's ice hockey club said he had been told by town authorities 30 minutes before the accident that a regular practice session for youth players was canceled because there was a risk of the facility collapsing.

However, "apparently the public skating was still continuing," Thomas Rumpeltes told The AP.

Local officials said there had been a roughly 8-inch layer of snow on the roof.

Mayor Wolfgang Heitmeier said the weight of the snow had been measured at midday and that it was well below the point at which the hall would have had to be closed.

Heitmeier told reporters that, following heavy snowfall in the afternoon, there had been some concern that those levels could be reached Tuesday, and the planned evening training was canceled as a precaution. The snow was to have been shoveled off Tuesday morning.

However, he said officials did not see any danger on Monday "because the levels were significantly below the limit."