The 23-year-old tradesman who died following the tragedy at Perth’s Curtin University on Tuesday has been identified.
Jonnie Hartshorn died when a glass ceiling at the university collapsed, two other workers were also injured.
Mr Hartshorn’s loved ones expressed their disbelief and left tributes online.
“When I heard this earlier on the news I got this sick feeling in my stomach that made me not want to watch or believe it was anyone I knew,” one person wrote on Facebook.
“I can’t believe this is true. You will be missed Jonnie boy!”
“Words can’t describe the heartbreak and the pain I am feeling right now,” a relative wrote on social media, the West Australian reported.
“You were the most beautiful soul and I just had so much love for you. You meant so much to me.”
Mr Hartshorn plummeted 20 metres when he fell through the ceiling, a second worker also fell through the ceiling and was in a serious condition at Royal Perth Hospital.
A third worker inside the building at the university's Bentley campus was also injured after falling about 10 metres.
Police said he was conscious and able to speak. Both injured men are in their 20s.
Witness says he made eye contact with tradie as he fell
One person who witnessed the collapse told the West Australian he made eye contact with one of the men who fell.
“I couldn’t do anything,” he said.
Another worker described how he saw the men disappear beneath the glass and steel.
“I saw the first guy fall in and everything fell on top of him, and the other guy dropped in after him,” the worker told the West Australian.
“The glass just poured in on top of him... I can still hear them screaming.”
Electrical Trades Union WA organiser Damian Clancey witnessed the collapse and said it happened during the lunch break.
He said there could have been many more deaths and injuries had it happened just five minutes earlier.
On Tuesday, following the incident which occurred around 12.30pm, Curtin University cancelled all on-campus events, out of respect “to those so deeply affected by this tragedy”.
There has been an accident on our Perth campus this afternoon. Our thoughts are with all impacted. pic.twitter.com/DwlwHvi1F2— Curtin University (@CurtinUni) October 13, 2020
Probe into fatal university roof collapse
On Tuesday night, police and emergency crews were preparing to make the construction site safe so they could retrieve the body.
"A lot of the workers have stayed behind and obviously they'll be spoken to in due course to determine exactly what happened," WA Police Commander Mike Bell said.
"It'll be up to the engineer to declare it safe at which point we can then go in and remove the body of the deceased and start our investigation."
The building will house Curtin's new architecture school. Head contractor Lend Lease has not responded to requests for comment.
WorkSafe is also investigating the incident and a police report will be prepared for the coroner.
CFMEU state secretary Mick Buchan said he had been made aware after the incident of there being issues with "deflection in the structural steel".
"Those issues were addressed by structural engineers ... (but) I understand that there were some concerns," he said.
"It's 2020. These events should not occur in the building and construction industry."
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