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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Exhibit Hall Collapses in Poland

KATOWICE, Poland -- Rescuers searched in bitter cold Sunday for victims buried when the roof of an exhibition hall in southern Poland collapsed on a racing pigeon show, killing at least 66 people and injuring 160.

The death toll rose steadily early Sunday as rescuers dug through the debris of the building, which collapsed at around 5:30 p.m. local time Saturday in the city of Katowice.

Tadeusz Dlugosz was dragged out of the twisted wreckage of the building, only to find out his 26-year-old son, who had been visiting another exhibit when the hall's roof collapsed, had been killed.

He remained at the site of the tragedy Sunday morning, trying to find out where his son's body had been taken.

"It was his idea to come to the fair, ... and he found his grave there," Dlugosz said. "I don't know which morgue he's in. I would like to see him and take him as quickly as possible."

At least 66 people were killed, said Janusz Skulich, head of the Silesia region fire brigade. Among the dead was a police officer who was providing security for the exhibition, said police spokesman Janusz Jonczyk, adding that there were at least 160 people injured.

Skulich said one body -- included in his count of people killed -- was still known to be in the building, but other than that individual, "the probability that there are still victims in there is very, very small," Skulich said.

People who escaped said two emergency exits were open but other exits were locked, leaving others trapped.

Franciszek Kowal, who got out onto a terrace and jumped about four meters to safety, saw people struggling to break windows to escape.

"Luckily nothing happened to me, but I saw a macabre scene, as people tried to break windows in order to get out," Kowal said. "People were hitting the panes with chairs, but the windows were unbreakable. One of the panes finally broke, and they started to get out by the window."

Attorney Grzegorz Slyszyk, who represents the company that owns the building, said he had no immediate information on the reports but that if exits were locked, the reason why would be investigated.

Hopes of finding survivors faded early Sunday after no one had been found alive since 10 p.m. local time Saturday in minus 17 degrees Celsius cold, and crews who had been using only hand tools to pick through the wreckage were preparing to step up the operation.

Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz joined several thousand others packing Katowice's Cathedral of Christ the King on Sunday morning for a special mass being celebrated for the victims of the tragedy.

Police said snow caused the roof to collapse, but Slyszyk, the attorney for building management, disputed that, saying snow had been regularly removed and that it was too early to speculate on a cause.

 President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences in a telegram sent to his Polish counterpart Lech Kaczynski on Sunday, saying, "In Russia, we are shocked at the tragedy in Katowice which has caused numerous victims."