Many people including children were feared trapped on Wednesday after a building containing a private school collapsed in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, an emergency agency spokesperson said, as rescue efforts began.
The school could have had as many as 100 children there at the time of the collapse, officials said.
About two dozen people have been rescued so far, said freelancer Anna Cunningham, reporting from the scene for CBC News.
Ibrahim Farinloye, spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency’s southwest region, said there was no immediate information on any casualties.
“The third floor of the building was housing a private school in the area,” said Farinloye, adding the three-storey building came down at around 10 a.m. local time.
Workers on top of the rubble shovelled debris away as thousands of people swarmed around the rescue site — dozens watching from rooftops and hundreds more packed into the surrounding streets, according to a Reuters reporter.
Early in the search, there were cheers as a boy believed to be around 10 years old was pulled alive from the rubble, but the crowd went quiet as another child was freed and did not appear to move.
The building was in the Ita-faji area of Lagos island, the original heart of the lagoon city before it expanded onto the mainland.
There were residential apartments below the school, Cunningham reported.
Nigeria is frequently hit by building collapses, with weak enforcement of regulations and poor construction materials often used. In 2016, more than 100 people were killed when a church came down in southeastern Nigeria.
In Lagos that same year, a five-storey building still under construction collapsed, killing at least 30 people.
A floating school built to withstand storms and floods was also brought down in Lagos in 2016, though nobody was reported injured.
This story originally appeared on CBC