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17 construction workers killed in building collapse in central China

A two-storey building collapsed into rubble while workers were trying to prop up the second floor during renovations in central China, killing 17 construction workers and injuring 23.

The collapse happened on Friday afternoon in the Wuyang County town of Beiwudu in Henan province while work was being done to shore up the building, the county government said.

Forty people were pulled from the debris by early this morning, including 17 killed and 23 injured - nine of them in serious condition.

People suspected of being responsible for the collapse were taken into police custody, the county government said, and its cause is under investigation.

Many victims were crushed by falling chunks of the building and at least one had spinal injuries that may cause paralysis, Wuyang People's Hospital head Liu Jinshan told state broadcaster CCTV, which also showed images of rescue workers at the rubble-strewn site of the collapse.

"When the patients came and were sent into intensive care unit, their injuries were really bad," he said.

CCTV quoted a construction worker in hospital as saying workers were using a hoisting jack to push up a corner of the first floor of the two-storey building when the collapse happened.

The building was built in the 1990s, the broadcaster said.

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