SHANGHAI • Seven people were killed yesterday when the roof of a Shanghai commercial building caved in upon construction workers who were renovating it, the city government said.
The accident in a central Shanghai neighbourhood trapped an unspecified number of people at the site, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
About 21 people had been pulled out of the debris and rushed to hospital, it said later, while two were known to be still trapped in the ruins. The accident is under investigation as rescue efforts continue, Xinhua reported.
A verified social media account run by China's emergency ministry showed pictures of rescue personnel digging bloodied and dust-coated workers out from amid piles of rubble, toppled concrete pillars and shattered wooden beams.
The authorities did not give details on the severity of the injuries suffered by survivors.
Police sealed off the area with a huge security presence, preventing journalists from getting close.
The building had previously been used as a dealership for Mercedes-Benz cars, the fire rescue bureau said. It was being redeveloped as a mixed-use arts and innovation site, according to local media reports.
A local resident told Agence France-Presse she was taking a nap when her bed suddenly began shaking, as if in an earthquake had struck. She then heard a loud bang.
"I thought it was an explosion at first," said the woman, who declined to give her name.
Chinese media reports said the building was around 3,000 sqm in area. Aerial pictures on social media appeared to indicate that the roof of about half of the building had collapsed.
China has seen numerous building collapses in recent years, typically blamed on the country's rapid growth which led to the construction industry cutting corners and flouting safety rules.
At least 20 people were killed in 2016 when a series of crudely-constructed multi-storey buildings collapsed in the eastern city of Wenzhou.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA