Gym roof collapse in China kills 11, rescuers search for survivors

Rescuers search for survivors from debris after the roof of a gymnasium collapsed in Heilongjiang province on July 23, 2023.  - Twitter/XHNews
Rescuers search for survivors from debris after the roof of a gymnasium collapsed in Heilongjiang province on July 23, 2023. – Twitter/XHNews

At least 11 people, mostly young students, were killed when the roof of a gymnasium collapsed on a girls’ volleyball team in the industrial province of Heilongjiang, Chinese media reported on Monday.

Media reports suggest that only eight of the 19 people who were inside the gym survived. The owners of the place were detained by the police at a local construction company.

According to the provincial fire and rescue department, the roof collapse was reported at 2:56 pm on Sunday.

Chinese media said they were allegedly dumping a form of volcanic glass, called pertile, on the roof of the gym while working on a nearby building project.

According to china national radioAs rescuers cleared the debris, the coaches of the middle school girls’ volleyball team were heard calling out the students’ names.

Rescuers search for survivors from debris after the roof of a gymnasium collapsed in Heilongjiang province on July 23, 2023.  - Twitter/XHNews
Rescuers search for survivors from debris after the roof of a gymnasium collapsed in Heilongjiang province on July 23, 2023. – Twitter/XHNews

The parents criticized the school authorities saying, “There was a lack of proper communication on the rescue effort, which spread till Monday morning.”

According to, under the influence of rain, perlite absorbed water and increased in weight, as a result of which the roof collapsed. Xinhua,

“They told me my daughter was gone but we never got to see the child. When all the children were sent to the hospital their faces were covered in mud and blood. I begged, please let me identify the child. What if it was not my child?” one person said in a video that was widely shared on social media.

“What [the authorities] Were you still doing this four, five or six hours after the kids were sent to the hospital? …the doctors are not talking to us about how the rescue is going.

“We have elderly people at home, we need [help them] Be mentally prepared. There are doctors, police officers and other government officials here. But we haven’t heard anything from you,” he said.

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