Nigeria collapse: Survivors share their experience

A building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed killing 115 people including 80 South Africans.

Rescue efforts underway in Lagos, Nigeria where at least 67 South Africans have been killed after the collapse of a building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - A South African woman who survived for five days in the rubble of the collapsed Nigerian building has described how she feared being killed by a caterpillar, prayed her hunger away and how her desperate calls for help went unanswered.

The building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed on 12 September, killing 115 people, including 80 South Africans.

The collapse occurred when three extra storeys were being added to the existing two of a guesthouse inthe church compound where visitors from abroad flock to stay.

Led by the charismatic "Prophet" TB Joshua, the Lagos Pentacostal Church attracts a global following of Christians who believe Joshua is able to perform miracles including curing the ill and raising the dead from the grave.

An investigation into the cause of the disaster is now underway.

Last week, government brought back a group of 25 South Africans who survived the Lagos tragedy, some had lost limbs.

Lindiwe Ndwandwe from Kempton Park has described her traumatic ordeal to Eyewitness News explaining how she drank her own urine to survive the tragedy.

Ndwandwe has described how she could hear the footsteps of rescue workers from where she was trapped for five days, but there was no response to her desperate calls for help.

"Everyone is out, I was alone. I could hear the rescuers ask; 'is there anyone there?' and I replied back, 'yes I am'. I could hear them when they went back."

Ndwandwe says a small gap in the pile of rubble helped her stay alive.

"That was the only hole I was depending on. That was the only hole giving me air to breathe."

Ndwandwe has defended controversial pastor TB Joshua for calling the 115 believer's 'martyrs of the kingdom of God,' saying Christ never said their journey on earth would be easy.

"I believe they are with God. They are in a world of peace."

Jonty Cloete from Mossel Bay was also part of the group disagrees.

"It is sad and I could have been there myself."

Survivors have told Eyewitness News they believe they escaped the tragedy with their lives because they have unfinished business on earth.