Hotel collapse in China’s Suzhou kills 17, injures five

image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionSearch operations took place over three days

Some seventeen people have died after a hotel collapse in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou.

After 36 hours of search operations, rescue workers found 23 people buried in the rubble – six of whom were found alive.

A preliminary investigation found the collapse was caused by the owner altering the structure of the building, according to the Global Times.

The building is said to have undergone frequent renovations in recent years.

"The building used to have only three floors, but over the years they have been adding extra floors," one resident told news outlet Red Star News.

The Jiangsu Provincial Government said an investigations team was looking into the accident, adding that "relevant individuals" would face criminal charges.

image copyrightReutersimage captionRescue workers combed the site of the collapse

The collapse of the Siji Kaiyuan Hotel in Suzhou happened on Monday afternoon at 15:33 local time (07:33 GMT). More than 600 rescue workers were deployed to the scene.

image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionSome 23 people were found in the rubble

There were initially believed to be 18 people in the 54-room hotel at the time of the collapse, but it was later revealed there were five unregistered guests inside.

Out of the six people found alive, five are said to be injured but in stable condition. One person suffered no injuries.

Building collapses in China have in the past been linked to poor construction work.

media captionNearby residents had a lucky escape when a three-storey building collapsed

Last year, 29 people died after a hotel collapse in Fujian province. Investigators later found there were "serious problems" in the hotel's construction, said a Xinhua report.

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