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Old 01-29-2006, 04:05 AM   #1
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At least 60 dead in Poland collapse

Took me a bit to remember, but U2 played in Katowice in July.

At least 60 dead in Poland collapse
Frantic rescue effort after exhibition hall roof collapses

(CNN) -- At least 60 people were killed when the roof of an exhibition center in southern Poland collapsed during a national racing pigeon exposition, local officials said Sunday.

The death toll was expected to rise, as the local fire chief told reporters bodies could still be seen sticking out of the rubble of the International Exhibition Hall, on the border of the city of Katowice and the suburb of Chorzow.

The collapse came during the annual three-day National Exhibition of Racing Pigeons. The event is attended by thousands of people, including families, breeders and exhibitors from Poland and other nations.

About 500 people were believed to be inside when the collapse occurred about 5 p.m. Saturday (1600 GMT). About 140 were injured, officials said, and 128 had been taken to 15 area hospitals.

Some 1,300 rescuers, including coal miners, were on the site, but heavy machinery had not yet been brought in, as authorities held on to faint hope some of those trapped might still be alive.

Family members and bandaged survivors stood by waiting for information on loved ones.

"There are people in there covered in blood, pinned down," said a woman whose father was missing. "There are people moaning and screaming."

Many of those inside were able to escape, authorities said, but some escape routes may have been cut off.

A government official noted that because the exhibition included carrier pigeons, some parts of the exhibition center were blocked off.

The cause of the collapse was undetermined. Some blamed heavy snow, but others wondered if the temperature difference between the heated exhibition center and the bitter cold outside could have weakened the structure.

The weather has been bitterly cold recently in Poland, with temperatures dipping as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius, or minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit.

After relatives and friends could no longer communicate with their buried loved ones by cell phone, there were feelings of pessimism, said Polish Radio Katowice reporter Anna Dudzinska after the incident Saturday.

"Now people are not so optimistic, I'm afraid," Dudzinska told CNN.

The cold posed a major problem. By early Sunday, temperatures had dropped to minus 17 degrees Celsius (1 degree F), and townspeople were bringing blankets to the disaster site, Dudzinska said.

A heated tent was set up near the rescue site, and heavy equipment was brought in to help stabilize the building's beams during the search. (Watch rescuers race against the cold -- 1:51)

Video of the scene showed piles of mangled steel beams and walls, apparently made from aluminum. Cages of live pigeons were in the wreckage. (Watch as workers crawl toward victims -- 4:05)

"It looks like a collapsed house of cards," PolSat reporter Marek Sygacz told CNN.

Earlier this month, heavy snow caused the roof of a German ice skating rink to collapse, killing 15 people.

CNN's Agnes Pawlowski and Journalist Bruce Konviser contributed to this report

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Old 01-29-2006, 04:08 AM   #2
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Awful tragedy.

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Old 01-29-2006, 04:16 AM   #3
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Old 01-29-2006, 12:48 PM   #4
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This is awful.
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Old 01-29-2006, 03:35 PM   #5
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I read this last night, so horrifying.
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