Woman pulled from rubble almost 6 days after building collapse in China

Rescuers in central China pulled a woman alive from the rubble of a building that had partially collapsed nearly six days earlier, state media reported on Thursday.

The unidentified woman is the 10th survivor of the disaster in Changsha city, in which at least five people died and an unknown number, possibly dozens, are still missing.

She was rescued shortly after midnight on Thursday, about 132 hours after the back of the six-storey building suddenly collapsed on April 29, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The woman was conscious and advised rescuers how to get her out without causing further injury, Xinhua said. The teams had used dogs and hand tools as well as drones and electronic life finders in the search.

The rain helped the chances of survival

All survivors were reportedly in good condition after being treated in hospital. Intermittent rain showers in recent days may have increased their chances of surviving without food or water.

At least nine people have been arrested in connection with the collapse of what Xinhua described as a “self-constructed building”, including its owner, who is suspected of ignoring building codes or committing other violations.

Three people responsible for design and construction and five others who allegedly provided a false security assessment of a guest house located on the fourth to sixth floors of the building were also detained.

The building also housed a residence, a cafe and shops.

A rise in the number of self-constructed building collapses in recent years prompted Chinese President Xi Jinping last month to call for additional checks to uncover structural weaknesses.

Poor adherence to safety standards, including the illegal addition of extra floors and failure to use rebar, is often blamed for such disasters. China is also suffering from decaying infrastructure such as gas pipes that have caused explosions and collapses.