Man freed five days after South Africa building collapse

The collapse of the building in George trapped 81 people
[Getty Images]

A worker has been rescued from the debris of a collapsed building in the South African city of George after being trapped for nearly five days.

Rescuers were able to make contact with the man and give him water after hearing someone inside the rubble.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said Saturday's rescue was the "miracle" they had been hoping for.

The partially built apartment block collapsed on Monday, killing at least 14 people and leaving 39 unaccounted for.

Eighty-one people were on the construction site when the building came down, the city’s latest announcement said. Thirteen of those who were rescued are being treated in hospital.

South African channel News24 reported the rescued man was Gabriel Gambe, a 33-year-old tiler, who was seen being carried into a waiting ambulance.

Speaking from the site of the collapsed building, Mr Winde expressed his gratitude to the teams working “tirelessly” to rescue those who are trapped.

“We never gave up hope and today I cannot express the extent of my relief and joy. Thank you to all the teams - you are true heroes.”

Colin Deiner, the province’s head of disaster management, said Mr Gambe told them before he was pulled free that he had a “weight” on his legs.

"We are very concerned about that after such a long period of time so we have had two surgeons come in."

Saturday's rescue follows the freeing of 29-year-old Delvin Safels on Wednesday, who caught the public's attention after he sent heart-wrenching voice notes to his parents and girlfriend, telling them how much he loved them and expressing the fear that he would not come out alive.