On Saturday evening, a seven-story hotel in Fujian province, which was used as a coronavirus quarantine center, suddenly collapsed at around 7.15pm. At the time of the incident, 80 people were inside the hotel and nine managed to escape, while the others remained trapped. Of the 71 people trapped, 48 were rescued. The current death toll stands at 10 as of March 8, 5.48pm, however 23 people remain unaccounted for.
More than 1,000 firefighters were dispatched from local and provincial fire departments and rushed to the scene, working through the night in search of survivors.
Image via Xinhua
One survivor surnamed Xue, who was on the fourth floor when the building collapsed, said, “It felt like people were suddenly flying out and thrown around. It only lasted for a few seconds. I thought it must be an earthquake and I didn’t have time to hide.” The following day was the supposed end date of Xue’s quarantine.
The Xinjia Hotel was located in Licheng distrct in the city of Quanzhou and received fairly positive ratings from Ctrip guests, averaging 4.5/5 stars. At the time of the collapse, all 58 people under quarantine in the hotel had tested negative for COVID-19.
The Xinjia Hotel prior to collapse. Image via Ctrip.
The reason behind the collapse of the hotel is still under investigation, but is speculated to be related to structural issues or due to ongoing renovation work. The hotel’s owner has been taken into police custody, according to Xinhua.
The building was constructed in 2013, and converted into a hotel in 2018. The hotel had started renovations on the first floor in January. On Saturday evening, workers noticed that a pillar had become distorted during the renovation – the building collapsed a few minutes later.
Watch the video below to see rescue efforts following the collapse of the hotel (VPN off):
[Cover image via New China TV/YouTube]