Building collapse 'leaves 100 buried'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 December, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 December, 2000, 12:00am

About 100 people were reportedly buried when a building collapsed in Dongguan city, Guangdong, yesterday. It was not clear early today whether anyone had been killed.

When the accident happened, construction work was under way to add a third floor to the two-storey, seven-year-old building in the Chiling industrial zone in Houjie county. About 10 shops and restaurants were on the ground floor.

The collapse occurred at about 2pm when the street and shops were busy.

'Many people were crushed by the falling concrete. It was around lunch hour and the shops, restaurants and a photo studio were filled with customers,' a witness said.

Authorities deployed 10 heavy-duty cranes, a dozen fire engines, and more than 100 firefighters and public security officials to remove the rubble.

Villagers said the building, originally one storey, had had another storey added last year, while a third was under construction.

Police blocked off the area last night as rescue operations continued. By midnight, about 40 people were reported to have been dug out and taken to different hospitals.

The extent of their injuries was not clear. Many more people were said to be still trapped inside.

An unconfirmed report said city government officials and Public Security Bureau officers were questioning contractors involved in the construction of the extra floor.