Mother and two of her children are crushed to death in front of her nine-year-old son when part of a building breaks off and falls onto them in Italy
- Fouzia Taoufiq, 38, was killed in a building collapse in northern Italy Wednesday
- She died instantly along with five-year-old son Soulaymane Hannach
- 15-month-old daughter Yaoucut was found alive in the rubble but died in hospital
- Her nine-year-old son witnessed the tragedy unfold but escaped unharmed
A mother and two of her children have been crushed to death when part of a building collapsed on to them in Italy – as her oldest son watched in horror.
Fouzia Taoufiq, 38, and her five-year-old son Soulaymane Hannach died instantly when they were hit by falling bricks and mortar around 5.30pm Wednesday in the town of Albizzate, near Milan.
Meanwhile 15-month-old daughter Yaoucut, who was being pushed in a stroller, was pulled alive from the rubble and taken to a nearby hospital – but later died.
A 38-year-old mother-of-three, named locally as Fouzia Taoufiq, has been killed along with her five-year-old son Soulaymane Hannach after a building collapsed on them in Italy
The woman’s 15-month-old daughter, Yaoucut, was pulled alive from the rubble by rescuers and taken to hospital via air ambulance but later died of her injuries
The accident occurred when a decorative cornice nearly 230ft long that was overhanging the street suddenly fell, pulling a large piece of wall down with it.
A 42-year-old woman was also injured, though not critically.
A witness who was working in a nearby supermarket said he heard a noise ‘like an explosion’ and ran outside to find the building had collapsed.
He told Reppublica: ‘Across the street was the eldest son of the dead woman. He was in tears, he asked about the mother.
‘I took him to the super until the dad who was at work arrived.’
Noureddine Hannach, the woman’s husband and father of the children, said he is ‘sick’ after the accident and is struggling to sleep at night.
‘Losing a wife and two children was a blow, it will be difficult,’ he said. ‘My eldest son is at a friend’s house; he says he is doing well. He saw everything.
‘We were married since 2007. I have been in Italy for 20 years, my wife since 2009.
‘My children were born in Italy, the oldest in Bari, the other two who died were born here, in Gallarate.’
The old industrial building houses several businesses. A ‘twin’ building which includes a supermarket has been shut.
A 42-year-old woman was also injured in the accident, which happened near a popular supermarket (pictured, witnesses outside the supermarket)
Mirko Zorzo, mayor of the town, also witnessed the collapse because his office is in the building where it happened – and narrowly avoided being crushed.
Mr Zorzo said he was leaving the building when it came down and was just 20cm from where the rubble landed.
He said: ‘I am upset, at the moment I do not feel like commenting much. I am talking with emergency services to reconstruct what happened.’
Francesco Bruno, an inspector with the fire department, said it appears the cornice detached from the main building very quickly and almost in one piece.
No damage was caused inside the building, and investigations are ongoing to determine what led up to the collapse.
The local prosecutor has opened a manslaughter investigation though it is not yet clear who – if anybody – is to blame for the incident.