A building collapsed in Changsha, Hunan Province, China, trapping hundreds of people beneath the wreckage.
Officials reported Saturday that dozens of people were trapped beneath a building that collapsed in central China, as rescuers scraped through the wreckage and used buzzsaws to liberate several survivors.
On Friday afternoon in Changsha, Hunan province, a structure that held a hotel, apartments, and a theatre caved down.
According to the Changsha mayor, at least 23 individuals were trapped late Saturday, while 39 more were uncontactable as a result of the tragedy.
“The situation of the missing persons is being further assessed,” mayor Zheng Jianxin said, as rescue workers in orange hard hats swarmed the scene.
So far, no injuries have been recorded, and city officials say five people were rescued overnight from the fallen structure.
Officials also confirmed that the structure was eight storeys tall, contrary to early rumours that it was just six.
Firefighters were seen hacking through a tangle of metal and concrete slabs, while rescuers shouted into the debris tower to contact with survivors, according to state television.
Some of the injured were transported down a small alleyway on gurneys, while sniffer dogs searched the area for signs of life.
Authorities provided no obvious explanation for the accident, while suspicion focused on possible overwork on the property.
“Tenants had made structural changes to the premises to varying degrees,” CCTV said, adding that the reason for the collapse was under investigation.
– Search ‘at all cost’ –
President Xi Jinping has called for a search for victims “at all cost,” state media reported, adding he had ordered a thorough investigation into the cause of the collapse.
According to state media, President Xi Jinping has ordered a comprehensive probe into the reason of the collapse and has called for a search for casualties “at all costs.”
A senior Communist Party official had already been rushed to the catastrophe site, indicating the gravity of the situation.
An official statement said Saturday that State Councillor Wang Yong, who was selected by the central government, was deployed to lead a team to “guide the rescue and emergency response work”.
Because of lax safety regulations and corruption among those tasked with enforcing construction quality standards, building collapses are widespread in China.
In January, a building in Chongqing was destroyed by an explosion caused by a suspected gas leak, killing more than a dozen people.
In June 2021, a gas explosion in a Shiyan residential compound claimed the lives of twenty-five persons.
In the same month, a fire at a martial arts school killed 18 people and injured many more, with state media saying that all of the victims were boarding school students.