On Saturday, a rooftop parking lot collapsed into a busy shopping mall in Elliot Lake, Ont. One person is believed dead, perhaps as many as 30 missing. This is shocking in a country where building codes and modern construction techniques have largely banished sudden structural collapses to the “World” section of newspapers. There is also the dawning realization that all of this may turn out to have been not just preventable, but foreseeable — reports have been emerging of structural problems with that roof going back several years.
Soon enough, we’ll have our answers — how many dead, how many wounded, what happened and if it could have been avoided. Until then, we’re left waiting for more information, something that falls hardest on the families of the missing.
Especially today. Vanishing during a disaster used to be a something that would happen even to those that survived unscathed — it could take hours or days to get word to your loved ones that you were safe and sound in the aftermath of a tragedy. That was before each of us carried a combined telephone and email device with us at all times as a matter of routine. In our digital age, when disaster strikes, we expect to hear from our loved ones right away. If we don’t, the panic sets in.
Based on what is known about the Elliot Lake collapse so far, it bears some resemblance to a disaster that struck Kansas City in 1981. The Hyatt Regency Hotel in that city was hosting a dance in its expansive lobby when two pedestrian walkways suspended above suddenly collapsed, killing 114 and injuring hundreds more. An investigation eventually concluded that engineering compromises made to keep the walkways sleek and attractive had put too much strain on critical support joints. But on the night of the disaster, as rescuers fought to dig out survivors before water from broken pipes could drown them, the only way to figure out who was trapped or dead was either to identify corpses or interview eyewitnesses who could say, with certainty, that they’d seen someone they knew crushed.
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan 2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons 2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims 2016-04-27 2:23 St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ 2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop 2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.