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Second victim recovered from Ontario mall collapse

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Story highlights

  • Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said officials will be investigating the building standards
  • It is thought to be the last victim of the incident, police say
  • At least 22 others suffered injuries that were not life threatening
  • Tapping sounds were heard Sunday

A second body -- thought to be the last victim from the weekend collapse of a shopping mall roof -- was pulled from the rubble of the damaged mall in Ontario's Elliot Lake community, police said Wednesday.

Rescuers had earlier reported that they detected what they believed to be sounds of breathing around 4 a.m. Monday underneath a section of the Algo Centre Mall.

Tapping sounds were heard Sunday.

The names of the two victims have not yet been released.

At least 22 others suffered injuries that were not life threatening after part of the mall's parking structure collapsed Saturday, sending debris crashing through multiple levels of the building.

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Rescue teams tried to locate the victims, but on Monday announced that they were suspending the search.

    "There's a high probability that this whole thing is going to come down on the inside," Bill Neadles of the Toronto-based rescue team said.

    "We can't put more lives at risk unnecessarily ... because we've been given information that shows it's very unstable," Rob deBortoli, chief administrative officer for the city of Elliot Lake, added during the news conference.

    The news Monday that the search would be stopped triggered an emotional response from the townspeople of southern Ontario's Elliot Lake community.

    "We come from a mining town, where mine rescue never gave up on their people, and it didn't matter how bad it was, they stuck it out. They were there," Elliot Lake resident Cynthia Sopher pleaded to officials during the news conference.

    Another resident prompted applause from others in the crowd when she tearfully asked, "How are we going to deal with the one that may still be alive? We can't just let them die."

    Stress on the remaining structure had increased as heavy concrete fell near the mall's escalators and stairs, Neadles said. Beams supporting the escalators and stairs started to bow, and an engineer on site "doesn't understand why it hasn't collapsed already," he added

    But later Monday, local authorities announced that they had received "full approval" from Ontario government officials to proceed with the search.

    " My thoughts and hopes have been with you since Saturday," Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty told the public during a Wednesday press conference.

    "Ontarians marvel at your resilience," he added, referencing the Elliot Lake community.

    McGuinty also said officials will be investigating whether building standards were adhered to at the mall.