Nine arrested in China for building collapse: Police | News

Suspects include the building’s owner and members of an inspection company accused of providing a false security report.

Chinese police have arrested at least nine people after a building collapsed in the central city of Changsha, as rescuers continue to search for survivors trapped in the rubble.

Changsha police said Sunday that the owner of the building and three others responsible for its design and construction were arrested on suspicion of “major responsibility in an accident.”

Five other people, all members of a private building inspection company, “provided a false security report after conducting a security audit of the hotel building,” the statement on Twitter-like Weibo said.

Seven people have been pulled alive from the rubble of the six-story building in central China’s Hunan province, and another 16 people are believed to be still trapped, according to authorities.

The incident took place on Friday afternoon in the city of Changsha when the structure housing a hotel, apartments and a cinema collapsed.

President Xi Jinping on Saturday called for a search “at all costs” and ordered a thorough investigation into the cause of the collapse, state media reported.

Search ‘at all costs’

Authorities have not yet given the cause of the disaster.

Changsha’s mayor vowed to “use the 72 golden hours for the rescue and do everything possible to search for the trapped people” at a press conference on Saturday, adding that more than 700 rescuers had been dispatched to the scene.

Rescue teams at work
The six-story building in the city of Changsha partially collapsed on Friday. [Cnsphoto via Reuters]

State media showed firefighters, backed by a bulldozer, cutting through a mound of metal and concrete sheets, as rescuers shouted into the tower of debris to communicate with survivors.

A crowd gathered as chains of rescuers removed chunks of brick by hand, allowing experts to peer deeper into the wreckage.

Some of the injured were carried away on stretchers, while sniffer dogs combed the area for more signs of life.

A high-ranking Communist Party official was dispatched to the scene, an indication of the severity of the disaster.

China’s Emergency Management Minister Huang Ming urged officials to “completely eliminate all kinds of hidden security risks” at a meeting on Saturday.

Building collapses are not uncommon in China, due to weak safety and construction standards, as well as corruption among law enforcement officials.

In January, an explosion caused by a suspected gas leak brought down a building in the city of Chongqing, killing at least 16 people.

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