Worshippers injured as staircase collapses
DOZENS of worshippers at the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in the Johannesburg CBD were injured yesterday after a staircase collapsed on them during a church service.
More than 90 people were injured and had to receive medical treatment at nearby hospitals.
"They sustained injuries ranging from minor abrasions to fractures," said ER24 paramedics spokesperson Lloyd Krause.
He said 25 of the injured were still in hospital in a critical condition.
Church spokesperson Nametso Mofokeng said a large group was sitting beneath the staircase when it collapsed during a service.
"The church was supposed to open in August but there were delays with the certification. We then opened in October." She said the building was certified as safe.
The church has between six and seven services on Sundays and about five every day during the week, Mofokeng said.
A hawker near the church, who would only say his name was Richard, said he saw people rushing out of the church just after 11am.
"I thought perhaps there was a fire inside.
"They ran onto the street and minutes later a firefighter, and later a number of ambulances, arrived.
"Many people were put on stretchers and taken away by the ambulances," he said, adding that everyone in the area was surprised by the collapse inside the building as it was still "brand new".
Police and fire services are still busy investigating what caused the collapse.