China building collapse survivor found almost 6 days later

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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, in which at least five people have died and an unknown number, possibly dozens, are still missing.

She was rescued shortly after midnight on Thursday, about 132 hours after the rear of the six-story building suddenly caved in on 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 food or water.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, rescue workers evacuate the 10th survivor pulled alive after being trapped 132 hours from the debris of a self-built residential structure that collapsed in Changsha in central China's Hunan Province on Thursday May 5, 2022. Rescuers in central China have pulled the woman alive from the rubble of a building that partially collapsed almost six days earlier, state media reported Thursday. (Shen Hong/Xinhua via AP)

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, rescue workers evacuate the 10th survivor pulled alive after being trapped 132 hours from the debris of a self-built residential structure that collapsed in Changsha in central China’s Hunan Province on Thursday May 5, 2022. Rescuers in central China have pulled the woman alive from the rubble of a building that partially collapsed almost six days earlier, state media reported Thursday. (Shen Hong/Xinhua via AP)
(AP)

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 rather than demolish. Prior to the rescue, they were able to feed in video equipment to communicate with the girl and establish that one of her legs was trapped.

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.

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

At least nine people have been arrested in relation to the collapse of what Xinhua has described as a “self-built building,” including its 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 guest house on the building’s fourth to sixth floors.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, medical workers evacuate the 10th survivor pulled alive after being trapped 132 hours from the debris of a self-built residential structure that collapsed in Changsha in central China's Hunan Province on Thursday May 5, 2022. Rescuers in central China have pulled the woman alive from the rubble of a building that partially collapsed almost six days earlier, state media reported Thursday. (Chen Sihan/Xinhua via AP)

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, medical workers evacuate the 10th survivor pulled alive after being trapped 132 hours from the debris of a self-built residential structure that collapsed in Changsha in central China’s Hunan Province on Thursday May 5, 2022. Rescuers in central China have pulled the woman alive from the rubble of a building that partially collapsed almost six days earlier, state media reported Thursday. (Chen Sihan/Xinhua via AP)
(AP)

The building also housed residences, a cafe and shops.

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

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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 suffers from decaying infrastructure such as gas pipes that has led to explosions and collapses.

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