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Death toll at Suzhou hotel climbs to 8
China Daily
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Death toll at Suzhou hotel climbs to 8

At least eight people died and nine others remain missing after a hotel collapsed in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, on Monday afternoon, according to a post on the city government's WeChat account.

As of Tuesday evening, one unharmed person had returned home and five injured people were receiving treatment in hospital after being rescued from the debris.

Previous information provided by the government said 18 people were buried at the site, but investigators later found that five others had entered the hotel without registration.

Reports on Monday said at least one person died and 10 others were unaccounted for.

The building, in Suzhou's Wujiang district, was undergoing renovations when it collapsed.

A preliminary investigation by the rescue team at the site found that the property owners' rebuilding of the hotel's structure, work that had not been approved by the city government, caused the collapse, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The provincial fire department has dispatched 654 workers, 120 vehicles from seven detachments, six earthquake rescue teams and five search teams equipped with large cranes, lifting air cushions and a metal-cutting machine.

With the help of search dogs and professional equipment, rescuers worked all night to rescue more buried people.

"The environment of the collapsed building is making it very complicated for rescuers to find the buried," Chen Zhi'ang, a deputy director of the provincial fire department, told a news conference on Tuesday.

"The rescuers will take turns to work 24 hours a day until all the buried people are rescued.

"We'll not give up on any life and will do our best with the rescue work."

He said the room numbers of guests at the hotel were being used to pinpoint the likely locations of some of the missing.

Huang Yingzi, deputy director of Zhongda Hospital, who is leading the provincial medical team to help treat the injured, said that three of the five patients were seriously injured.

"Specific treatment plans have been made for each patient," she said.

"Twenty-one top medical experts in the province have been sent to Suzhou to treat them."

The Ministry of Emergency Management also sent a panel of experts to Suzhou on Monday afternoon to help with the rescue work.

Suzhou's emergency, public security, health, housing construction and urban management departments have joined the rescue and investigation work.

Jiangsu Governor Wu Zhenglong hurried to the site to organize rescue work on Monday afternoon, saying the accident must be thoroughly investigated and all people responsible must be severely punished.

All 13 cities in the province will hold construction safety management meetings to strengthen inspection and prevent such accidents from happening again, the provincial government said.

Suzhou police have detained some people in charge of the hotel for investigation, the Wujiang district information office said.

China DailyShen Yi

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