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At least 23 people were in building when it collapsed and 39 others are uncontactable, authorities said.

Rescuers in central China pulled five people alive from a partially collapsed building on Saturday where at least 18 others could still be trapped.

The six-story building, which housed a hotel, apartments and a cinema, caved in on Friday afternoon in Changsha city, Hunan province, with 23 people inside. Authorities also said that 39 other people who were around the building when it toppled remain uncontactable.

“The situation of the missing persons is being further assessed,” mayor Zheng Jianxin said.

The five people who were rescued are in stable condition in hospital, authorities said at a news conference.

Building collapses are not uncommon in China due to weak safety standards and corruption among officials tasked with enforcement of construction quality standards.

In January, an explosion triggered by a suspected gas leak brought down a building in the city of Chongqing, killing more than a dozen people.

Twenty-five people also lost their lives in June 2021 when a gas blast hit a residential compound in the city of Shiyan.

President Xi Jinping has given instructions to rescue the latest victims “at all costs”, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.

Preliminary investigations revealed that tenants of the flattened building had made structural changes to the premises, though the exact cause of the disaster is still being investigated.

Source: Al Jazeera

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