Hotel Wall Collapse at Wedding Kills at Least 15 Guests, Injures Dozens of Others

At least 15 people have been killed after a hotel wall collapsed during a wedding celebration in Peru early on Sunday.

The tragedy occurred in the city of Abancay in the south of the country, where revelers were attending a wedding party at the Alhambra hotel, the Associated Press reported.

The agency quoted national civil defense chief Jorge Chavez, who explained that victims had been dancing when the wall collapsed on top of them. Chavez told the RPP radio station that at least 30 injured people had been rescued from the rubble and sent for hospital treatment.

Authorities believe the collapse was caused by a landslide, as mud and rocks smashed into the building following five days of heavy rain. The impact caused one of the walls to buckle, bringing down the roof and other parts of the building, the BBC reported.

Chavez said around 100 guests were in the hall when the collapsed occured, at just after midnight. Approximately 50 people are believed to have been close to one of the walls that came down, he explained.

Images posted to social media by the national civil defense body showed rescuers picking their way through the debris to search for the injured and carrying them away on stretchers.

Guido Chahuaylla, the mayor of Abancay, said all efforts were being made to make sure emergency responders could reach those still trapped. Those who were injured but recovered are being taken for treatment at local hospitals, he added.

Peruvian newspaper El Comercio reported that the collapsed barrier was a retaining wall, built to protect the hotel from landslides from a steep slope nearby. When this structure collapsed into the hotel, other parts of the building came down on those inside.

Thirteen of the dead were killed by the collapsing building, while another two died later in hospital. Police, firefighters and local residents all joined the rescue effort, while relatives of the attendees were told to go to local hospitals to identify their injured or dead loved ones.

The newspaper quoted witnesses who said most of the attendees were teachers from the southern province of Aymaraes, just to the south of Abancay. El Comercio named the bride and groom as Benedicta Palomino and Vladimir Marquez Robles. Citing local officials, the newspaper reported that both were injured but are now in a stable condition in hospital.

Abancay is located among the Andes mountains, nestled in a valley and surrounded by steep slopes on three sides. Landslides thus present a significant danger, as is the case in much of the mountainous country. In 2017, for example, more than 100 people were killed and 158,000 displaced by landslides that followed record levels of rainfall, according to the Guardian.

Hotel Wall Collapse at Wedding Kills at Least 15 Guests, Injures Dozens of Others | World