Hotel collapse in China leaves 17 people dead, 5 wounded

At least seventeen people were killed after a hotel collapsed in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou.

Search and rescue crew teams found 23 people buried in the rubble after 36 hour operations – six of whom were alive.

A preliminary investigation found the collapse was caused by the owner altering the structure of the building, state media Global Times reported.

The building was believed 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,” Red Star News quoted one resident.

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

The collapse of the Siji Kaiyuan Hotel in Suzhou happened on Monday afternoon at 15:33 local time. Some 600 rescue personnel were deployed to the scene.

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 are quite common in China. Past collapses blamed poor construction work.

Last year, 29 people died after a hotel collapse in Fujian province. Investigators later found said there were “serious problems” in the hotel’s construction.