Seven years since Zolitūde disaster cost 54 lives

Take note – story published 3 years ago

Saturday, November 21, marks the seventh anniversary of the Zolitūde tragedy, in which 54 people were killed and dozens injured when the roof of the Maxima supermarket in the Rīga suburb of Zolitūde collapsed. 

President Egils Levits laid flowers at the scene of the disaster Saturday morning.

Just a few days ago, the victims had access to the full judgment of the court in the long-running case that resulted. This was one of the most extensive judgments in the history of Latvia. For more than 1,200 pages, the court found one person guilty, acquitting the other eight defendants. The victims and their representatives are dissatisfied with the court's decision, saying that it will be appealed.

The court started hearing the Zolitūde tragedy case in December 2015. It recognizes 267 people as victims.

It took the judges nine months to prepare a full court ruling on the Zolitūde tragedy. The court decision says that the building construction engineer Ivars Sergets violated construction norms, as a result of which the supermarket "Maxima" collapsed. He was convicted of homicide by negligence by the court. 

The building that collapsed had previously won architectural awards and was notabler for a garden constructed on the roof.

The cause of the accident has been acknowledged by experts as incorrect calculations of load-bearing steel elements by Sergets. This structure was changed five times after the building was put into operation. In turn, this change caused the weak spot to be overloaded, as a result of which the suddenly and catastrophically collapsed. A second section collapsed as rescuers attempted to help those trapped by the first collapse. 



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