Akrotiri roof was ‘overloaded’

The government yesterday blamed the deadly collapse of a shelter over an archaeological site on the island of Santorini last September on faulty construction, saying that there was too much weight placed on the roof. Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis also pointed to technical errors during the construction of the shelter that covered the Akrotiri archaeological site. A British tourist died in the accident, and six people were also injured on September 23, when a portion of the 1,000-square-meter steel roof collapsed. Chief accident investigator Giorgos Penelis said the overweight shelter weakened the structure. «The weight on the part of the structure that collapsed was two-and-a-half to three times greater that the design allowed,» he said. According to construction plans, there should have been 15 centimeters of earth over the structure, which was to have been planted with scrub to blend with the surrounding landscape. The part of the roof that collapsed had 26.5 centimeters of earth, which grew heavier when it was watered by workers. The extra soil meant that each cubic meter weighed 1,150 kilos versus the planned 800 kilos. Engineers from the construction consortium that put up the shelter had denied any responsibility in October, saying the accident occurred due to the poor quality of building materials. The government was careful yesterday not to point any fingers as a judicial investigation into the accident is continuing. «The findings refer to the causes, it does not place blame,» Tatoulis said. The popular site has been closed down since the accident but the government hopes to reopen it in the summer.

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