Last victim pulled from China's collapsed coronavirus quarantine hotel; death toll hits 29

Rescuers search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed hotel in Quanzhou, in China's eastern Fujian province, on March 7, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - The death toll from the collapse of a coronavirus quarantine facility in east China rose to 29 on Thursday (March 12) as the final victim was recovered from the rubble, the authorities said.

Dozens of people were pulled alive from the wreckage of the six-storey Xinjia Hotel in the coastal city of Quanzhou, which collapsed last Saturday night trapping 71 people underneath.

More than 40 were injured in the accident, with 27 found dead in the rubble and two dying later from their injuries, according to state media.

China's emergency management ministry said the body of the final victim was recovered on Thursday morning.

The State Council has set up an investigation into the collapse, the ministry said.

The building in Quanzhou's Licheng district had been repurposed to house people who recently had contact with patients confirmed with Covid-19, the state-run People's Daily newspaper reported.

The hotel collapsed last Saturday night, with footage published by local media appearing to show the building's facade crumbling to the ground in seconds, exposing the structure's steel frame.

A preliminary investigation found serious problems with its construction, the People's Daily reported on Wednesday, citing the deputy mayor of Quanzhou, Mr Hong Ziqiang.

Those responsible for the accident had been taken into custody, Xinhua reported Mr Hong as saying.

Construction of the building began in 2013, with a floor area of around 7,000 square metres. It was converted into a hotel in 2018 with 66 rooms.

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