Mérida, Yucatán — After a week of combing through the rubble of a hotel-retail complex being built in the hotel zone, officials on Monday officially ended their search for more victims.
That means heavy machinery can come in and begin cleaning up the site of Paseo 60, where five workers were killed Dec 4 when six floors collapsed at the end of the work day.
State prosecutors will also continue to investigate whether structural issues contributed to the accident, for which a crane operator has claimed responsibility.
The crane operator appeared before the state prosecutor’s office accompanied by a legal representative from Predecón, the company in charge of construction at the site on Calle 60 and 35.
The accident happened after crane operator lifting a concrete block struck or dropped a concrete block on the seventh floor of the northeast wing of one of two hotel towers. Pre-fabricated concrete beams fell to the ground, generating noise and dust that neighbors compared to a bomb blast.
Developed by local entrepreneur José Chapur Zahoul, Paseo 60 was supposed to open in April, neighboring the Hyatt Regency.
The company has agreed to pay the victims’ funeral expenses, and has kept its other 55 workers on the payroll while the project is stalled pending cleanup and investigations.
Four victims were found immediately; the fifth was found two days later with the help of two trained dogs named Dexter and Sarno.
The official casualty toll is five dead and none injured, although unofficially it was reported that there were at least five injured and transferred to the General Hospital Agustin O’Horán.