Hopes of finding more survivors from the rubble of a collapsed commercial building in central China faded yesterday, at the end of a 72-hour “golden” rescue period identified by authorities.
The building in Changsha City, Hunan Province — which housed apartments, a hotel and a cinema — caved in on Friday, sparking a massive rescue effort with hundreds of emergency responders.
There has been no official confirmation of any rescues since a seventh survivor was pulled from the rubble on Sunday afternoon, leaving at least 16 people authorities have identified as trapped.
No contact has been established with 39 others.
Changsha Mayor Zheng Jianxin (鄭建新) had said the government would “seize the golden 72 hours for rescue,” a window that closed yesterday afternoon.
The seventh person was rescued more than 50 hours into the search effort, state broadcaster China Central Television said.
A 1m-thick wall had separated the survivor from rescuers, who located her after detecting signs of life at the spot on Sunday.
Changsha police said that besides the owner, they had arrested three people in charge of design and construction and five others for what they said was a false safety assessment for a guest house on the building’s fourth to sixth floors.
In photographs the building appeared to have pancaked down to about the second floor, leaving rubble strewn on the sidewalk. It had stood in a row of buildings about six stories tall.
Xinhua news agency said the building had eight floors, including a restaurant on the second floor, a cafe on the third floor and residences on the top two floors.
Other media reports said it was a six-story building.
Tenants had made structural modifications to the building, but the cause of the collapse remained under investigation, Xinhua reported.
Police said the Hunan Xiangda Engineering Testing Co issued the false safety report on April 13. The arrested included the legal representative of the company and four technicians suspected of providing the assessment.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on Saturday called for a search “at all cost” and ordered a thorough investigation into the cause of the collapse, state media reported.
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