Lagos church collapse: Could victims have been saved?

The surviving group of South Africans who travelled to Nigeria to attend a church service at TB Joshua's Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria have told Eyewitness News they feel blessed to be alive. While 67 South Africans are believed to have died in Friday's collapse, some were lucky enough to survive and the first group of survivors landed at OR Tambo International Airport just after 5am this morning.

A local doctor who returned this morning spoke to EWN Reporter Govan Whittles and referred to bricks dislodging from the top floor walls. But while many blame the consturction of the building, the actual cause of the collapse will take some time to investigate.

Meanwhile, EWN's reporter in Lagos, Samson Omale, has reported that journalists and camera crews who were on the scene shortly after the collapse were prevented from documenting the scene by members of the church. Speculation is growing that members of the church also obstructed rescuers who rushed to the scene...

No official statements have been released detailing the identities of the victims. Meanwhile, TB Joshua has produced security footage supporting his claims of a circulating plane as the cause of the crash...

TB Joshua remains adamant that this was a failed assassination attempt, targetting him in particular.

The TV evangelist has a massive following in South Africa and South Africans are known to flock to his church throughout the year. TB Joshua’s purported powers have seen prominent figures from all over the continent travel to be in preacher’s presence and witness his powers.

Rescue teams are searching rubble for possible survivors - already 131 have been rescued. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says it is in constant contact with the Nigerian government and will supply updates as they become available.

Frustrated, Senior Pastor of Rhema Bible Church, Ray McCauley spoke to Xolani Gwala following the tragic collapse of a church in Nigeria on Friday, where 67 South Africans lost their lives. McCauley criticizes the Nigerian Synagogue Church for the way that they have handled the dissemination of information and the lack of counselling available to family of victims the collapse.

Update: 20 South Africans are being treated in Nigerian hospitals in the wake of the fatal building collapse. South Africa's High Commissioner to Nigeria Lulu Mnguni says a team will leave for Nigeria tonight to assist with forensic tests to identify whether more citizens died as a result of the collapse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations on Friday. Read more here


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