A firefighter holds a baby rescued in Quanzhou, Fujian province, on Sunday. At least 10 people were killed when a hotel in the city collapsed
When a 12-year-old boy was pulled alive from the rubble of a collapsed hotel in Quanzhou, Fujian province, China, on Sunday morning, the first words he said were, "My mum was by my side. She is still alive!" With continued efforts, his mother was also rescued from the ruins at 4:38 pm, making her one of the 49 people carried out by rescuers as of 8 pm on Sunday, China News Service reported. However, the sudden collapse of the Xinjia Hotel, in the city's Licheng district at 7:15 pm on Saturday, has claimed 10 lives, and more than 1,000 rescuers continued their efforts on Sunday night to search for 22 people who remained missing, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management. The hotel had been made a facility for medical observation after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. When the collapse occurred, 80 people were in the hotel, 58 of them under quarantine. The others were hotel staff and employees of businesses located on the ground floor of the building, Hong Ziqiang, Quanzhou's executive vice-mayor, said at a news conference on Sunday.
Of the 80, nine escaped and 49 were pulled out from the wreckage, but 10 of those were dead. Hong said 750 medical workers are engaged in the treatment of the injured. The National Health Commission said it had sent two medical teams with a total of 18 physicians, including specialists in orthopedics, neurosurgery and infectious diseases, to help with the treatment. Previous nucleic acid tests on the 58 people isolated at the hotel all were negative, but Hong said they will be treated in accordance with the epidemic prevention and control standards and their observation will continue. While an investigation into the collapse is still underway, Zhang Yi, head of Licheng district's housing authority, said two of the six rooms on the ground floor of the building were being renovated when the collapse occurred. "At around 7 pm on Saturday, a construction worker called the building owner and said one of the pillars was out of shape. About four minutes later, the entire building was reduced to rubble," he said. But he emphasized that it remains unclear whether the renovation work was to blame for the collapse. The 66-room hotel opened in 2018. Li Huojin, head of Quanzhou public security bureau, said the owner of the building has been arrested. Apart from the news that the 12-year-old boy and his mother had been rescued, news about a rescued 2-year-old baby also became an online sensation and had been read for about 160 million times and received over 130,000 comments as of 6 pm on Sunday on Sina Weibo. The boy was seen in an online video being taken out of the rubble by a masked firefighter wearing a flashlight on his helmet. The rescuers were able to locate the baby and his parents after a sniffer dog found them at around 11 pm on Saturday. They managed to pull them out following efforts that lasted for over an hour. The rescue headquarters said, however, it will bring in digging machines to help their work while continuing their search for survivors, which indicates that it's becoming increasingly difficult to find the rest of the missing people.www.ivebaby.com