Tributes paid to supermarket tragedy victims

  • 2013-11-22
  • From wire reports, RIGA

Tributes have been paid to victims of a  Riga shopping center roof collapse on Thursday, Nov. 21.

Up to 33 people are dead and dozens more injured after the Zolitudes shopping center collapsed on shoppers. 

Among the dead are three firefighters, said emergency services. Around 30 people have been injured and hospitalized whilst many more are still trapped under the rubble, reports LETA.

Latvian police say a winter garden was being constructed on the roof and may have been the cause of the collapse, although investigations are ongoing. 

The Riga supermarket tragedy has become the largest loss of life in an incident in the country since the restoration of independence.

Meanwhile, top state officials have expressed sorrow for the lives lost, reports LETA.

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis expressed deep condolences to the victims of Zolitude disaster, their families and loved ones. "This unexpected and tragic event has shocked the nation, and our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by the disaster. This tragedy, regardless of what caused it, has claimed too many lives," said the premier.

Dombrovskis also offered condolences to the families and colleagues of the firefighters killed during the rescue efforts. "These men did not hesitate to help the people trapped underneath the rubble, and their courage commands our greatest respect. This is unspeakable loss to the families of the deceased firefighters, to the State and Fire Service, and to the entire nation," said Dombrovskis.

The premier also wished speedy recovery to all persons hospitalized in the wake of the disaster.

Latvian President Andris Berzins said the tragedy in Zolitude was inconceivable, and thanked all those participating in the rescue operation.

"This is an inconceivable tragedy that has resounded across the nation," he said. 

Saeima Chairwoman Solvita Aboltina added: "It is extremely saddening that so many people have died and sustained injuries, including children and rescuers," notes Aboltina.

Saeima speaker wishes speedy recovery to all who have been injured in the disaster, and thanks all those participating in the rescue operation.

The Baltic Times readers have also been sending in their own personal tributes from across the world. 

Reader, Shon Ani said: "Light through the darkness, hope in the face of tragedy."

A national day of mourning will be held on Nov. 23-24.