Daily Archives: August 26, 2007

Brittons Hill Barbados – Apartment Building Collapse Into Known Cave – Family Of 5 Trapped – US Miami Dade Rescue Team Goes To Work





(Special Thanks to BFP Reader O for the above on scene photos – taken Sunday August 26, 2007 13:30hours Barbados Time)


INTERNET RADIO FOR OUR INTERNATIONAL READERS… Voice Of Barbados 92.9fm (Windows Media Player needed)

Monday, August 27, 2007 – 8am – Voice Of Barbados Update

For continuing coverage at Barbados Free Press, see our latest article…

Barbados Apartment Collapse – Day 2 Under The Rubble – “No Sign Of Life” After USA Dog Team Exam

Monday, August 27, 2007 – 12:40am – Voice Of Barbados Update

– Nothing that we haven’t heard before.

– Many of the original workers have been on scene since early Sunday morning.

– Barbados Advocate article Stress Runs High On Disaster Site provides details of early contact with one of the victims shortly after the collapse. Also info that rumblings preceded the collapse by some time.

First Response Barbados Rescuers Took FIVE HOURS To Arrive

BFP Article: Barbados Apartment Collapse – First Response Of Barbados Rescue Team Took 5 Hours! (Newspaper Report)

Barbados Advocate: Rescuers Get Moving At 10:30am

11:37pm Barbados Time – Voice Of Barbados Report

– Brief interview with Barbados Rescue Coordinator Doctor Brian Charles

– Miami-Dade Rescue Team has determined there is a need to further stabilize the building or “a” building. There will be consultations with structural engineers. Expect an update in an hour or so. Very short interview. No mention of “sounds” or “movement”, but the radio announcer very definitely stated this earlier so perhaps it was a misunderstanding on her part when she spoke off-air to the reporter at the scene.

11:03pm Barbados Time – Voice Of Barbados Report

Voice of Barbados just reported that authorities are reporting possible MOVEMENT in “one building”.

US Rescue team arrived at Cave-In Scene at 10:46pm. They have been briefed and are starting to work.

NOTE: Upon second listening to recording of radio broadcast, announcer said “movement” not “sounds” – ambiguous. MEDIA CONFERENCE EXPECTED MOMENTARILY

9:30pm Barbados Time – Voice Of Barbados Live Interview


(All spellings phonetic – could be incorrect)

Trapped in the rubble…

Cassandra Codrington 27 years old

Donavera 30 years old (husband)

Shaquonda 7 years old

Shaquila 3 years old

Yashero 1 years old

Family Member OK…

Donica 3 months old was not at home – was staying with relatives.

Interview with George Edgehill Deputy General Manager National Housing Corporation Team. Trucks are on standby at the scene if needed.

US Miami Rescue Team Not Yet Arrived In Barbados as of 9:30pm Barbados time.

Specialist Rescue team from Miami with 4 dogs, special equipment, video cameras and sensors still in the air.

Attorney General Dale Marshall says there will be 12 members on the US Rescue Team. The four specially trained dogs are used to find people in the rubble.

Barbados rescuers have not been able to locate any of the victims to 9:30pm Barbados time.

The area has been evacuated in a radius of 500 feet, but the authorities are watching closely to see if a larger radius is needed. Impacted so far are 5 residences and 3 apartment buildings. Seismographic tests are being continued throughout the night to determine if there is any further movement of the rock formations in the area.

Minister of Social Transformation Trevor Prescod states that 15 evacuees are at the Vauxhall Senior Citizens’ village.

Prime Minister Arthur – “Everything humanly possible is being done.” “A decision will have to be made as to whether or not the area can continue to be lived in.”

Coordinator of Barbados Rescue Team: Doctor Brian Charles – “This is a rescue. We are not giving up on the hope of life because persons can live for a period of time in pockets.” There have been problems with spectators interfering with rescuers (just by getting in the way) Appeals for all to stay away.

8:32pm Barbados Time – Voice Of Barbados Live Interview

– Interviewing some Police Inspector

Help from USA has not yet arrived. Delay. Expected tonight but later.

– Some comments about crowd control. Please stay away from the area.

– Two cranes on scene – 100 ton and 200 ton. One at Chelsea Avenue, one at Brittons Crossroad.

– Interviewing Mr. Jefferson Bravelle (phonetic) from the Roving Response Team. Several fresh cave-ins making rescue difficult. Now cutting out large sections of walls. Eleven men digging now. Also portable cameras on scene trying to look for survivors. All rescuers are tethered to the crane in case of further collapse.

“This is still a rescue. We have been here since six oclock this morning. WE WILL NOT GIVE UP UNTIL THEY ARE FOUND.”

8:40pm Barbados Time – Live report ends. Another briefing in one hour.

6:55pm Barbados Time

Thanks to BFP reader D for the above satellite view identifying the exact building that collapsed into the cave.

6:04pm Barbados Time – Voice Of Barbados Radio

– Prime Minister Arthur speaking, sounds down as you would think.

– From Barbados Underground

The government of Barbados has taken a decision to request assistance from the USA through the resident Ambassador. The experts in search and rescue and expected to be on the ground at 8.30AM tonight. (editor’s note: must mean 8:30pm?)Congrats to the government for making a quick decision.The next official Press Conference is scheduled for 11AM tomorrow 27 August 2007. Assessment of the wider area is still being undertaken to determine if wider evacuation will be required.”

– Difficult moment for the country.

– Meeting at 11am tomorrow (?) to provide financial resources for rescue team.

Editor’s Note: 5:25pm Barbados Time

Hello friends, Cliverton here. First let me apologize to our readers and my companions for not making my noon “spam patrol” assignment. That said, I am here now and will be updating the blog with whatever information I can find.

First, our blogging friend at Pull! Push! has posted a link to a map of the area where the apartment block collapsed into the cave.

Next, click on the above CBC photo to view the latest television report (but it is a little old).

Editor’s Note: 2pm Barbados Time

Friends, I have to be off to work and Cliverton has not been seen as yet. He was supposed to be taking over at noon. When Clive or Robert get online they will update this article. Until then listen for reports at VOB Radio above, the CBC or the Nation News (nothing up there to now but we are told that it shouldn’t be much longer.)

We haven’t given up hope for the trapped family and we continue to pray for them, their families and friends – and for the courageous people who are even now risking their own lives to attempt a rescue.

1:21pm Barbados Time Update From VOB Radio

– 2 adults, 3 children known to be in collapsed apartment building.

– Family members on scene.

– Workers now removing debris from cave.

– No communication established with victims.

– Reporter asks about ground rumblings being heard in other places!

– Police say they are evaluating.

CBC News – Update On Website

CBC Article Tells Of Cries For Help From The Wreckage For Hours, Now Faded

Apartment Block Collapses Into Underground Cave. Family Trapped Since Early Morning

Efforts are underway to rescue a family of four trapped underground after part of the apartment building they were living in collapsed into a cave, early Sunday morning.Police, fire and Disaster Emergency Management Agency officials were out in full force on the scene in St. Michael where the incident occurred about 4:45 a.m.

Acting Commissioner of Police Bertie Hinds said engineering experts had to determine whether the area was safe enough to proceed with the rescue attempt, but just after 10 a.m., a two-man team was sent in.

He said they had heard voices crying for help up to four hours after the incident. But he said those cries have become fainter and up to 8 a.m., no one else was heard.

Three other families living in the apartment building managed to get out safely and temporary shelter is being provided for them in a nearby school.

Residents within 500 feet of the area have been evacuated in the interest of safety but officials say they will have to make a determination on whether the area will be declared a disaster area.

Prime Minister Owen Arthur, other government officials and Opposition Leader, David Thompson went on the scene as efforts progressed.

Arthur described the incident as a catastrophe and said he has put a team in place to manage the situation.

… CBC News (link here)

12:31pm Barbados Time – Update From VOB Radio

– Four family members known trapped

– Apartment and a house have fallen into the cave. A joint Barbados Defense Force and Fire team went into the cave, but are unable to get further until the roof is removed.

– Two cranes on scene assisting in efforts.

– On scene this morning PM, Tourism Minister, Public Works Minister, Attorney General. Leader of Opposition.

– Police spokesman – still no determination as to how wide an area will be evacuated.

Interview of neighbour – Heard noise, then ran and saw the second part of the collapse. Apartment was built on known cave, There was construction going on behind the building. Speculation that this may or may not have contributed to the collapse of the apartment building.

11:38am Barbados Time – Live interview of some government official… Police Station Sergeant

– So far no signs of life from the missing family.

– Please all onlookers stay away from area as emergency personnel are being hampered.

– POSSIBLE EVACUATION OF ENTIRE AREA as numerous other cracks are being seen.

– Utilities only now being shut off in area (?!!!! – it happened so long ago!)

– How many folks are missing now? NO IDEA. Uncertain. Still checking with neighbours and families, friends. Could be many more missing.

– Two cranes on scene now to remove the roof of collapsed building.

– Local schools open for displaced persons.

– Prime Minister will speak at 5pm Barbados time today.

– Reporter spoke to locals: Apartment block was built on a cave that was well known. Goes down 100 feet! Everyone knew about these caves. People played in the caves as children.

LIVE REPORT FROM SCENE: 11:29am Barbados Time – Voice Of Barbados Radio – Family of Four missing 2 adults, 2 children

Counselling center at Vauxhall senior center.

One and a half blocks dropped into cave.

Prime Minister “Catastrophe”

It is being reported by BFP readers that an apartment building in Brittons Hill collapsed into a cave at about 4:45am Sunday August 26, 2007.

I just woke up so I haven’t heard anything on VOB as yet except FM is playing “Tell your troubles to the Lord” right now.

10:44am Barbados Time – Just Now On VOB: Prime Minister Owen Arthur and other members of Parliament are on scene with emergency crews. Building collapsed into a cave.

No names of victims yet. Nearby residents have been evacuated as more collapses are feared.

Here’s some of what our commenters are saying…

August 26th, 2007 at 12:25 pm GMT (8:25am Barbados Time)

So, firstly condolences to anyone who has been injured in the ‘unofficially’ reported building collapse in Brittons Hill.

I cannot get official word on this as none of our local ‘media’ (what a joke) are reporting this as a real-time event.

Neverthless, hopefully there are no dead and any injured are rescued quickly. Reports of the building falling 100 feet into a cave are feasible, as Barbados is full of caves (as per Warrens and NHC building).

Further to this, we are now building flyovers on soft limestone rock, of which the substructure is uncertain.

Looking for trouble or rocket science?

Just Waiting
August 26th, 2007 at 1:11 pm GMT (9:11am Barbados Time)

Rumplestilskin –

It is official, an apartment building has collaspsed into a cave about 4:45 am
(bds time).
A family of four is reported missing.
We can only hope they survive as the rescue attempt has not commenced as yet.

Uncertainty surrounds the size, depth and stability of the cave and its ability to support heavy duty rescue equipment.


Filed under Barbados, Disaster

What A Surprise! ABC Highway Cost Triples Or More…

To Our Glorious Barbados Highway Planners

According to the CBC News, “issues were not foreseen when the project was in its planning stage” and the work required to complete the ABC Highway is now triple what was planned for.

Apparently the idiots and crooks who tendered, planned, bid and examined the bids on this mega project “forgot” a few little things, so we at Barbados Free Press would like to provide some advice to all the government officials and construction companies who are planning any further highway upgrades in Barbados.

Bear in mind that we have no experience in these matters – but we don’t feel at all unqualified to speak because experience and competence are obviously not part of the government’s criteria for planning and managing hundred million dollar construction projects in Barbados.

A Few Reminders For Our Incompetent Or Crooked Government Highway Planners And Managers

Here are some lessons about what should be foreseen when a highway project is in the planning stage…

1/ There are all kinds of pipes and wires running under the ground and especially where roadways are, so if you dig up an old road or dig for a new road the construction machines make a terrible mess of those pipes and wires under the ground. The lesson is that locating, protecting, moving or replacing these pipes and wires should be factored into the cost when you are planning a new highway.

2/ When the government is creating a legal contract for constructing a new highway, they should have some really smart people to look over the contract before it is signed – so we, the people of Barbados can stop the rape of our public treasury. These smart people should also be honest so they don’t create contracts that benefit their friends or construction companies that they have a share in.

3/ Bidders often deliberately fail to include necessary work in their bids so that a/ their bid is the lowest and they win the contract, and b/ the people of Barbados are given a low cost estimate so they will approve the project. For instance, had we the people of Barbados known that the BLP Government planned to spend triple what we were told constructing the ABC Highway, the people and their honest elected representatives might have stopped this nonsense at the start.

4/ Legal contracts should be designed to penalize construction companies who underbid on a project through incompetence or deception. The present contracts are like manna from Heaven for the construction companies because all liability and responsibility for bidding errors is on the government – which means the people of Barbados. The government people who sign and oversee these contracts on behalf of the people of Barbados are either incompetent or dishonestly receiving kickbacks for their “stupidity”. Government construction contracts should be changed so that we will never again have a situation where bidders can blame the government for things that the construction companies should have foreseen and included in their project costing.

But we’re only ordinary folks here at Barbados Free Press. We don’t drive BMWs – so what could we possibly know?

ABC Project To Cost More

Government will have to pay more than it originally intended for the US $60 million highway widening project.

Notice of this comes from the contractor, 3S Barbados, which says it is because the scope of work has increased.

While the company’s project manager George Siddall declined to say how much the final figure will be, CBC understands that the current scope of work is about three times what it was initially.

Officials of 3S and officials from subcontractors Rayside and C.O. Williams gave a tour and update on the state of the project this afternoon.

It’s just over a year into the road improvement project and much has been done, but several challenges have resulted in delays.

These have often been caused by issues related to water and gas mains as well as power lines.

The issues were not for seen when the project was in its planning stage.

This has hampered the north of the project in particular. This section is being undertaken by Rayside Construction Company.

There is a major power line that runs along the highway that must be re-laid before any work can go on.

As a result of this and other challenges this area of the project is three months behind schedule.

But efforts are being made to get back on track to enable the project to finish as near as possible to its completion date next May.

As a result Rayside Construction has increased its workforce by 20 to 25 percent and is working later hours, up to six and six 30 in the evening, as well as weekends.

But there are some areas that are progressing on schedule and are expected to be completed by the May deadline.

Nevertheless, 3S says if the project goes beyond next May and additional costs are incurred there is provision in the contract for the contractor to recoup the added expenses.

… from the CBC (link here)

Also see our friends over at Barbados Underground who are as surprised about this tripling of costs as we are…


Filed under Barbados, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption