A two-storey hotel collapsed in the southern Indian city of Secunderabad on Monday, killing at least 13 people and injuring 17 others, police said.
Rescue workers were searching through tonnes of rubble hours after the collapse in the city in Andhra Pradesh state in case people were still trapped, local police official K. Satyanarayana.
“The number of people killed is now 13,” the officer said. Most of the victims were said to be employees and local residents reported that one of them was the hotel owner’s son.
The officer said 17 people have been rescued from the debris and taken to hospital, and three of them were in a critical condition.
Some 25 people were working at the hotel, located on a busy road in Secunderabad, when a kitchen wall gave way, triggering a larger collapse and burying staff and others under debris, local police official B. Surender.
“The building was very old and the walls showed cracks, according to people working nearby,” Surender added.
It was unclear how many people, hotel employees as well as customers and others, were still trapped in the rubble. Rescuers have set up lights to continue the search through the night.
“The rescue operations are continuing and as a precautionary measure we are taking the help of experts in removing those trapped under the debris,” city police chief Anurag Sharma told the Press Trust of India.
Paramedics were seen stretchering the injured from the site. Local residents joined rescue workers, who used diggers, cranes and electric cutters, in trying to clear away the debris.
Family members of hotel workers still missing were waiting at the site for news.
Several buildings have collapsed in India in recent months, many of them apartment blocks in the financial capital Mumbai. One collapse in April in the city killed 74 people.
The accidents have highlighted pervasive poor construction standards in the country, where massive demand for housing and endemic corruption often results in illegal buildings and a lack of safety inspections.