Suspects include the building’s owner and members of an inspection firm accused of providing a false safety report.
Chinese police have arrested at least nine people following the collapse of a building in the central city of Changsha, as rescue workers continue to search for survivors trapped in the rubble.
Changsha police said on Sunday that the building’s owner and three others responsible for its design and construction were arrested on suspicion of “major responsibility for an accident”.
Another five people, all members of a private building inspection firm, “provided a false safety report after conducting a building safety audit of the hotel”, the statement on Twitter-like Weibo said.
Seven people have been pulled out alive from the rubble of the six-storey building located in central China’s Hunan province, with 16 other people believed to remain trapped, according to authorities.
The incident took place on Friday afternoon in Changsha city when the structure housing a hotel, apartments and a cinema caved in.
President Xi Jinping on Saturday called for a search “at all cost” and ordered a thorough investigation into the cause of the collapse, state media reported.
State media showed firefighters, backed by a digger, cutting through a morass of metal and sheets of concrete, while rescuers shouted into the tower of debris to communicate with any survivors.
A crowd gathered as chains of rescuers removed pieces of brick by hand, allowing experts a deeper look into the wreckage.