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Search for survivors after building collapses

THE building that houses the Cologne city archives collapsed yesterday and officials said many people fled to safety but two construction workers were missing.

Rescue officials found several slightly injured people at the scene in the western German city. Staff and visitors were able to get out of the archive shortly before the collapse, fire department spokesman Daniel Leupold said.

The building was reduced to a pile of rubble. About 180 firefighters were sent to the scene where rubble was spilled out over 50 to 70 meters.

Work was being carried out on a subway line under the street on which the building stands. "I am not aware of any work at the moment that might have caused this," said Gudrun Meyer, a spokeswoman for the subway company.

Alfred Hoovestedt, who works in a building nearby, told a television reporter that he was sitting with colleagues when "suddenly there was a rumbling, as if a train were going past."

"Then the noise got louder and louder, and we heard vibration," he said. "Then, in seconds, the whole area was covered in a haze."


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