BEIJING (AP) – The death toll in a hotel collapse in eastern China was raised to 17 on Wednesday as authorities halted the search and rescue mission.
Suzhou City said on social media that 23 people were pulled from the rubble of the Siji Kaiyuan Hotel, which collapsed Monday afternoon. One of those released was not injured and five others were sent to hospital for treatment.
Rescuers used cranes, ladders, metal knives and search dogs to search for survivors. Most of those killed were hotel guests.
More than 600 people including rescue teams following the earthquake and 120 vehicles were mobilized for the operation. Suzhou City is located in Jiangsu Province, near Shanghai.
Jiangsu’s top official, Communist Party Secretary Lou Qinjian, visited rescuers and victims on Tuesday, the city said.
Investigators are reportedly looking into the cause of the collapse and police have subpoenaed legal representatives of the hotel, managers and those who worked on the design and construction of the building, the statement said. Some had been placed under “criminal control measures”, he said, indicating that they were under some form of detention or surveillance. No number or name has been given for the persons targeted by such measures.
The three-story, 54-room Siji Kaiyuan Hotel opened in 2018, according to Ctrip, a Chinese online booking app.
Suzhou is a popular tourist destination known for its historic canals and traditional Chinese gardens, as well as an important business center.
This story has been corrected to show that the collapse happened on Monday rather than Tuesday and that a total of 23 people were removed from the rubble, of which only six survived.