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Survivor found almost 6 days after building collapse in China

Rescue workers evacuating survivor from collapsed building
Rescue workers evacuate a survivor trapped for 132 hours in the rubble of a building that collapsed in central China last week.
(Shen Hong / Xinhua News Agency)
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Rescuers in central China have pulled a woman alive from the rubble of a building that partially collapsed almost six days earlier, state media reported Thursday.

The unidentified woman is the 10th survivor of the disaster in the city of Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, in which at least five people died and an unknown number, possibly dozens, are still missing.

She was rescued shortly after midnight Wednesday night, about 132 hours after the rear of the six-story building suddenly caved in April 29, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

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The woman was conscious and advised rescuers on how to pull her out without causing further injury, Xinhua said. Teams had used dogs and hand tools as well as drones and electronic life detectors in the search.

All the survivors were reportedly in good condition after being treated in a hospital. Intermittent rain showers in recent days may have increased their chances of survival without ready access to food or water.

In an account of Monday’s rescue of the eighth survivor pulled out, state media said rescuers faced an unstable pile of rubble that they had to work around. Before the rescue, they were able to feed in video equipment to communicate with the trapped girl and establish that one of her legs was pinned.

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Before retreating to draw up a strategy, they fed in saline solution for her to drink, to which she responded, “Don’t worry, big brother, I know you’ll be back for me right away,” the reports said.

No other details about the girl or her condition were given.

At least nine people have been arrested, including the building’s owner, on suspicion of ignoring building codes or committing other violations.

Also held were three people in charge of design and construction and five others who allegedly gave a false safety assessment for a guesthouse on the building’s fourth to sixth floors.

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The building also housed residences, a cafe and shops.

An increase in the number of building collapses in recent years prompted Chinese President Xi Jinping to call last month for additional checks to uncover structural weaknesses.

Poor adherence to safety standards, including the illegal addition of extra floors and failure to use reinforcing iron bars, is often blamed for such disasters. China also has decaying infrastructure, such as gas pipes, that has led to explosions and collapses.

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