World

Five killed in Shanghai building collapse

Roof caved in on construction workers who were renovating the building

SHANGHAI: Seven people were killed yesterday when the roof of a commercial building caved in on construction workers who were renovating it, the city government said.

The accident occurred at around 11:30am local time in a central Shanghai neighbourhood.

About 21 people had been pulled out of the debris and rushed to hospital, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

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.

Authorities did not give details on the severity of the injuries suffered by survivors.

Police quickly 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 Chinese media reports.

A local resident told AFP she was taking a nap when her bed suddenly began shaking, as if an earthquake had struck.

She then heard a loud bang.

"I thought it was an explosion at first," said the woman.

She declined to give her name or to comment further.

Chinese media reports said the structure was around 3,000 square metres 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

This is typically blamed on the country's rapid growth leading to corners being cut in construction, and the flouting of safety rules.

At least 20 people were killed in 2016 when a series of crudely-constructed multi-storey buildings that were packed with migrant workers collapsed in the eastern city of Wenzhou. - AFP

WORLD