Shocking moment towering shelves in Brazilian supermarket collapse on top of each other in domino effect crushing one worker to death and leaving eight others injured
- Eight people including staff and customers were injured in the accident Friday
- Shelves collapsed at the Mateus Atacarejo Mix Supermarket in São Luís
- Dead victim identified as 21-year-old store worker Elane de Oliveira Rodrigues
- She had been working at the supermarket for three months before she was killed
This is the shocking moment towering shelves in a Brazilian supermarket collapse on top of each in a domino effect crushing one worker to death.
Eight people including staff and customers were injured in the accident that happened late Friday night at the Mateus Atacarejo Mix Supermarket in São Luís, north Brazil.
The dead victim was identified as 21-year-old Elane de Oliveira Rodrigues. She had been working at the supermarket for three months and was crushed under the falling products in the aisle where she had been stacking shelves.
Six others who were in the same location were wounded and rescued by emergency services. They were transferred to hospital and have since been released. Two other victims, rescued by people at the scene, suffered abrasions and minor injuries and were allowed to go home.
Eight people including staff and customers were injured in the accident that happened late Friday night at the Mateus Atacarejo Mix Supermarket in São Luís, north Brazil (pictured: shelves topple onto each other at the supermarket)
The retail store was at its busiest, packed with shoppers at the time the disaster struck around 8:15pm.
CCTV captured the moment the metallic structures to the right of the screen started to fall causing a domino effect on other huge shelves in front, stacked high with goods.
Shop attendants and customers at the checkouts stopped in their tracks as they heard a thunderous noise. Then everyone panicked and fled as they saw the shelves crashing down on top of each other.
As people rushed back into the carnage to search for survivors, screams from the injured rang out and footage showed massive piles of food and commercial products mixed with metal shop equipment and rubble.
A man was seen carrying a small child from the debris.
And one woman cried with despair and disbelief as she filmed the horror scene.
Eye witnesses formed chain gangs outside the store to help remove the piles of damaged stock. A video shows lines of people throwing the products from one to another in a bid to clear the area and locate survivors buried beneath.
The words posted on the video by Neto Verdelho read ‘Never lose faith in humanity! People helping to take things out to find the people below.’
Teams of fire officers, police and ambulance service (SAMU) responded immediately to the scene.
The search for victims continued throughout the night with rescuers, in high visibility vests, calling for silence as they shouted to victims buried under the storage shelves to signal where they were by ringing their mobile phones or by making a noise so they could be found.
The rescue operation lasted more than 11 hours and involved over 270 firefighters. The search was officially ended on Saturday morning
Ruan Alysson, the victim’s cousin said to local press: ‘(Elane) was so happy with her new job because she had just started working as a shelf stacker for the company three months ago.
‘The last picture she took of herself on her phone, in her blue work t-shirt, was on the shop floor.’
In a statement, the Mateus Group, which runs one of the largest supermarket chains in the city, regretted the accident and stressed all was being done to find, save and support the victims. They later confirmed the death of the employee.
‘It is with deep regret that the Mateus Group (joins in) solidarity with the family of Elane de Oliveira Rodrigues who, unfortunately, died in the accident’.
There is still no information what caused the collapse, but there is a suspicion that an accident involving a forklift truck could have caused one of the gondolas to fall leading to the tragedy.
A full investigation has been launched by health and safety officials and police.