Officials said 26 people died when a six-story building collapsed in Hunan province after rescue workers sifted through the rubble for nearly a week.
“Currently, 10 trapped people have been rescued and 26 people have died,” the Chinese official said today. The death toll was previously confirmed at 5 and many are believed to still be missing in the rubble.
The 6-storey building housing cinemas, motels, cafes, shops and apartments was leveled after the April 29 incident, leaving holes in a busy street in Trường Sa city, Hunan province, and creating a mess of broken concrete beams .
Rescuers found the survivor with the help of sniffer dogs, detectors, drones, as well as screams and sounds from victims. Xinhua reported that the collapsed building was a “homemade apartment building.”
The building’s owner and 10 other people were arrested for allegedly disregarding building regulations or other violations. Authorities also believe those responsible for assessing the building’s security falsified the records.
Chinese President Xi Jinping had previously called for a search for victims “at all costs” and ordered a full investigation into the cause of the collapse. A senior Chinese Communist Party official was also dispatched to the scene.
Building collapses are not uncommon in China due to poor safety standards and corruption on construction sites. China is also affected by deteriorating infrastructure such as gas pipelines.
In January, an explosion suspected to be a gas leak brought down a building in the city of Chongqing, killing more than a dozen people. Last June, a gas explosion also collapsed a residential building in Shiyan city, Hubei province, killing 25 people.
Also in June 2021, 18 people were killed and many injured when a fire broke out at a martial arts school. According to Chinese media, all of the victims are boarding school students.
Mr. Xi last month called for increased inspections to uncover structural weaknesses amid an increase in homemade house collapses.
Huyen Le (Corresponding AFP)