Archive for Friday, January 6, 2006

Town mourns after 15th victim pulled from rink

January 6, 2006

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— Bad Reichenhall, the town where 15 people died in the collapse of a skating rink, began mourning in earnest Thursday, laying out a book of condolence and scheduling memorial services for the mostly young victims after the last body was pulled from the rubble.

Officials scrambled to defuse the rage of residents suspicious the building had been neglected.

The rink's snow-covered roof collapsed suddenly Monday afternoon, crushing and burying the mostly youthful skaters beneath splintered beams and twisted metal. Twelve children and three adults died, and 18 people were hospitalized.

The last victim - a 40-year-old woman - was carried from the scene early Thursday, allowing hundreds of exhausted rescue workers and trained dogs to begin winding down. All 15 died instantly, said Edith Tutsch-Bauer, head of the nearby Salzburg medical examiner's office, which conducted the autopsies.

Wolfgang Heitmeier, the distraught mayor of this quiet spa town in the wealthy southern state of Bavaria, said area residents were in the grip of "mourning and deep sadness." The 15 victims were local residents.

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