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Death Toll Rises to 17 in Partial Collapse of China Hotel 

Rescue workers work next to a crane at the site where a hotel building collapsed in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China, July 12, 2021. (cnsphoto via Reuters)

The death toll in the partial collapse of a budget hotel in China's eastern city of Suzhou on Monday has risen to 17, state media said Wednesday.

Of the 23 people trapped in the rubble of the Siji Kaiyuan Hotel in Suzhou only six survived, according to state media.

More than 650 people were involved in the search and rescue operation, which concluded Wednesday morning.

The provincial government of Jiangsu has set up a team to conduct an in-depth investigation into what caused the collapse.

The Siji Kaiyuan opened in 2018 and had 54 rooms, according to online booking sites. The part of the hotel that collapsed was three stories tall.

According to some state media reports, the collapse was initially determined to be caused by the property owner's alteration of the hotel structure.

A hotel guest who checked out Monday just before the collapse spoke of loud drilling noises and the sound of the shoveling of sand, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

The building was shaking, the guest said.

Officials from cities in Jiangsu province have since held an emergency meeting on the safety of existing structures and called for tougher inspection and supervision.