Hundreds of rescue workers were deployed to Suzhou, China after the Siji Kaiyuan Hotel collapsed Monday afternoon, according to state media. File Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE
July 13 (UPI) -- Eight people are dead and nine others remain missing after a hotel collapsed Monday afternoon in the scenic Chinese city of Suzhou, known for its historical canals and bridges.
Hundreds of rescue workers were at the site of the collapsed Siji Kaiyuan Hotel Tuesday. They continue to search for nine people who remain unaccounted for, local authorities said, according to online publication Sixth Tone.
State television footage on Tuesday showed rescuers digging through piles of rubble, surrounded by broken glass, exposed steel frames and pipes. One man trapped inside the rubble tells the team that there's "another person over there."
CGTN reported Tuesday 14 people had been rescued.
Rescuers were banned from using excavators to search for survivors because of secondary collapse concerns, South Korean television network KBS reported Tuesday.
According to Deutsche Welle, China's Ministry of Emergency Management released images of rescuers pulling out a shirtless man with an injured leg, and placing him on a stretcher.
Shoddy construction practices have often been blamed for collapsed buildings in China. Last year, a hotel in Fujian Province that was being used as a COVID-19 quarantine facility fell down, killing 29 people. Official investigations concluded the building proprietors had added three floors to the structure illegally.
The three-story hotel in Suzhou may have been undergoing "unauthorized" change in structure, according state-owned news agency Xinhua. The Paper reported the 30-year-old building with 54 guest rooms was "refurbished" in 2018 and reopened in 2020.
Some hotel guests who survived the collapse said they were not injured because they had momentarily stepped out for a meal. One out-of-town guest told China's Sina News that they were hungry and left to search for a bowl of noodles.