This photo was taken in the immediate aftermath of the collapse by a local resident

At least 45 people have been killed when the roof of a supermarket collapsed in the Latvian capital Riga.

Rescue efforts are continuing and police have launched a criminal investigation.

Three of those killed were emergency workers who were helping people trapped when more of the roof came down, reports the BBC.

The number of deaths makes this the former Soviet republic’s worst disaster since the country became independent in 1991.

Police say they expect the number to rise further.

It is unclear how many more people could still be inside.

The cause of the collapse is unclear although reports say a garden was being constructed on the roof at the time.

British pilot Paul Tribble, 27, was shopping in the store with his partner Elizabeth when the roof fell in.

“I was taken down by shelving falling on me, which skimmed my shoulder and forced me to the ground but I was still able to move,” he told the BBC.

“There were torrents of water coming down off the roof. We headed into the back of the supermarket, the aisles were covered in produce and concrete and people lying on the floor.”

Tribble said a crane had been loading sand and building materials onto the roof for the past few weeks. He said he believed a lack of drainage following heavy rains had contributed to the fall.

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