Hotel collapse in China's Suzhou kills 17, injures five
Some 17 people have died after a hotel collapse in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou. After 36 hours of search operations, rescue workers found 23 people buried in the rubble, six of whom were found alive. The collapse of the Siji Kaiyuan Hotel in Suzhou happened on Monday afternoon, 12 July 2021 at 15h33 local time. More than 600 rescue workers were deployed to the scene. After the collapse, Jiangsu Fire Brigade sent six heavy rescue teams, five light rescue teams, five search and rescue dogs, more than 120 fire engines and 650 soldiers to rescue the victims.
Lou Qinjian, party chief of CPC Jiangsu Provincial Committee and Wu Zhenglong, governor of Jiangsu, issued instructions, demanding scientific organisation of search and rescue, full treatment of the wounded, minimising casualties and preventing secondary disasters. Wu Zhenglong, Fan Jinlong [zh] and the main leaders of Suzhou and Wujiang District rushed to the scene to organise and command the rescue at the first time. The Ministry of Emergency Management and Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development send working groups to the scene to guide the rescue work.
On 13 July 2021, Lou Qinjian, the top political position in the province, rushed to the scene to command rescue and disposal work.
At 9h00 on 14 July 2021, the search and rescue work ended. A total of 23 people were rescued, one of them returned home uninjured, five were injured and 17 were killed.
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.
Nearby merchants said that the collapsed building was very old and is being renovated. The first floor was the main hall, which was used to open a hotel, and the second and third floors were used for accommodation.
A preliminary investigation found the collapse was caused by the owner altering the structure of the building. The building is said 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," one resident told media.
The Jiangsu Provincial Government said an investigations team was looking into the accident, adding that "relevant individuals" would face criminal charges.
Building collapses in China have in the past been linked to poor construction work. Last year, 29 people died after a hotel collapse in Fujian province. Investigators later found there were "serious problems" in the hotel's construction, said a Xinhua report.