Relatives slam mall-collapse rescue effort: ‘This is not a Third World nation’

Relatives of the two women killed in the collapse of a northern Ontario mall lashed out Wednesday at the rescue effort they said failed to save at least one of them.

ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. — Relatives of the two women killed in the collapse of a northern Ontario mall lashed out Wednesday at the rescue effort they said failed to save at least one of them.

In emotional testimony, they described how they heard rescuers had detected signs of life in the rubble, only to call off the search because it was too dangerous.

“The sad part is when you look at places like Bangladesh, where a building collapses, 17 days later they pulled people out who were still alive,” said Darrin Latulippe.

“This is Canada. This is not a Third World nation. This is to the point of stupidity.”

Latulippe, son-in-law of Doloris Perizzolo, described hours and days of agonized waiting after the Algo Centre Mall caved in last summer for any news of her fate.

He and his wife received little official information, he told the inquiry into the tragedy, getting most of their news from the radio.

Hours after apparently picking up signs of life, Insp. Bill Neadles, who headed up the rescue effort, abruptly told her the search for her mother was done, Teresa Perizzolo testified.

“They basically said it was over and the only way to get my mother’s body out was to demolish the mall,” a sobbing Perizzolo testified.

It took four days to recover the bodies of Perizzolo, 74, and Lucie Aylwin, 34.

“They told us they were leaving because it wasn’t safe,” said Aylwin’s father, Rejean Aylwin.

“My daughter is there. You cannot stop. So I left screaming,” his wife Rachelle Aylwin testified.