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Page last updated at 04:34 GMT, Monday, 29 June 2009 05:34 UK

Shanghai probes building collapse

Collapsed apartment building, Shanghai, China, 27 June 2009
The collapse of an apartment building sparked safety fears

Officials in Shanghai are questioning nine people as part of an investigation into why a nearly finished apartment building collapsed on Saturday.

The building at Shanghai's "Lotus Riverside" apartment complex toppled over almost intact, killing one worker.

The developers had sold 489 of the 629 flats in the 13-storey building, and owners of the flats are now demanding refunds or compensation.

The event has sparked worries about construction safety in China.

The building, one of 11 in a wider project, fell over early on Saturday when pillars that were supposed to be buried deep under the earth were uprooted.

China's official news agency, Xinhua, said officials were taking "appropriate control measures" against nine people, including the developer, construction contractor and supervisor of the project.

The China Daily newspaper showed tearful owners gathering for talks about taking collective action against the developer, and owners of flats in nearby buildings also expressed fears for their safety.

Commentators in the Chinese press have noted the project's riverside location, the rise in water levels and potentially unstable piles of mud near to the collapsed building.

Officials have said they will investigate the cause of the collapse thoroughly.



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