The suspects include the building’s owner and members of an inspection firm accused of providing false safety reports.
Chinese police have arrested at least nine people after a building collapsed in the central city of Changsha, as rescuers continued to search for survivors trapped in the rubble.
Changsha police said on Sunday that the building’s owner and three other people responsible for its design and construction were arrested on suspicion of being “significantly responsible for the accident.”
Five other people, all members of a private building inspection company, “provided a false safety report following a building safety audit of the hotel,” the statement on Twitter-like Weibo said.
Seven people were rescued from the rubble of a six-story building in central China’s Hunan province, and 16 others are believed to be trapped, according to authorities.
The incident occurred in Changsha city on Friday afternoon when a structure containing a hotel, apartments and a movie theater collapsed.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday called for a search “whatever it takes” and ordered a thorough investigation into the cause of the collapse, state media reported.
Search “whatever it takes”
Authorities have not given the cause of the disaster.
The mayor of Changsha promised at a press conference on Saturday to “seize the golden 72 hours for rescue and make every effort to find the trapped people,” adding that more than 700 first responders had been dispatched to the scene.
State media showed firefighters, backed by excavators, digging through a metal swamp and concrete slab, while rescuers shouted at the ruined tower to communicate with any survivors.
A crowd gathered and a string of rescuers removed bricks by hand, giving experts a deeper look at the wreckage.
Some of the injured were put on gurneys while sniffer dogs scoured the area for further signs of life.
A senior Communist Party official was dispatched to the scene – a sign of the magnitude of the disaster.
Huang Ming, China’s emergency management minister, urged officials at a meeting on Saturday to “completely eliminate all kinds of security risks.”
Building collapses are not uncommon in China due to weak safety and building standards and corrupt law enforcement officials.
In January, an explosion caused by a suspected gas leak collapsed a building in the city of Chongqing, killing at least 16 people.