A two-story building collapsed into rubble while workers were trying to prop up the second floor during renovations in central China, killing 17 construction workers and injuring 23, officials and reports said Saturday.
The collapse happened Friday afternoon in the Wuyang County town of Beiwudu in Henan province while work was being done to shore up the building, the county government said on its website. Forty people were pulled from the debris by early Saturday morning, including 17 killed and 23 injured — nine of them in serious condition, the county government said.
People suspected of being responsible for the collapse were taken into police custody, the county government said.
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Many of the victims were crushed by falling chunks of the building and at least one of the injured had spinal injuries that may cause paralysis, Wuyang People's Hospital head Liu Jinshan said in an interview with the state broadcaster CCTV, which also showed images of rescue worker at the rubble-strewn site of the collapse.
"When the patients came and were sent into intensive care unit, their injuries were really bad," Liu said.
CCTV quoted a construction worker in hospital as saying workers were using a hoisting jack to push up a corner of first floor of the two-story building when the collapse happened. The building was built in the 1990s, the broadcaster said.
A man at the Wuyang County government who declined to be named confirmed details of the collapse when reached by telephone, but said there was no new information to report. The cause of the collapse is under investigation, he said.