Twenty-six people are known to have died in southeastern China when a seven-storey, steel-framed hotel holding Covid-19 patients in quarantine collapsed.
Officials blamed an illegal renovation on the ground floor.
Constructed beginning in 2013, the Xinjia Hotel in the city of Quanzhou, Fujian province came down without warning on the evening of Saturday, 7 March, trapping 71 people inside.
Working around the clock amid twisted steel and debris, rescue crews have since extracted 68 people, 26 of them deceased, including children.
Three are still missing.
The building came down minutes after a worker told the building’s owner by telephone that a pillar had become compromised, China Daily reports.
"This is a workplace accident caused by human factors," Shang Yong, vice-minister of Emergency Management, told the newspaper, while calling for a thorough investigation.
The building was converted into a hotel in 2018, with 66 rooms.
Shang said the building violated laws in its construction, and went against regulations in renovations multiple times.
Image: Â©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier