Dozens trapped, others missing after China building collapse

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At least 18 people were trapped under a building that collapsed in central China, officials said Saturday, as rescuers pulled apart the rubble brick by brick in an effort to reach survivors.

The building, which housed a hotel, apartments and a cinema, caved in on Friday afternoon in Changsha city, Hunan province, leaving a gaping hole in a densely built street front.

Another 39 people were uncontactable after the incident, the mayor of Changsha told reporters. It was not clear if authorities believed the people who could not be contacted were also under the rubble.

“The situation of the missing persons is being further assessed,” mayor Zheng Jianxin said. City authorities are yet to release details of casualties but said five people were rescued from the structure overnight.

State media showed firefighters — backed by a digger — cutting through a morass of metal and sheets of concrete, while rescuers shouted into the tower of debris to communicate with any survivors. A crowd gathered as chains of rescuers removed pieces of brick by hand, allowing experts a deeper look into the pancaked building.—APP