Death toll at Istanbul building collapse reaches 21

Sergio Conner
February 11, 2019

President Tayyip Erdogan talks to residents as he visits the site of a collapsed building in Istanbul, Turkey, February 9, 2019.

As the overall death toll rose to 18, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said there were "many lessons to learn" from the tragedy.

Turkey's president has visited the scene of an apartment building collapse in Istanbul as the death toll increased to 17.

Instanbul - The number of people confirmed dead after a multistory residential building collapsed in Istanbul has climbed to 16, Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported Saturday. "We will take the necessary measures".

Minister Suleyman Soylu spoke late Saturday, saying those who made "mistakes" would be held accountable.

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It was the third time the toll figures were updated during the day.

Rescue teams were last night still searching the rubble of an apartment block in Istanbul after a local official warned that there could have been as many as 30 people inside when it collapsed on Wednesday.

Dozens of rescuers worked at the site, as a crane lifted huge blocks of concrete to clear the rubble to search for the remaining victims.

Fourteen apartments were registered at the site but the top three floors of the building had been built illegally, the city's governor Ali Yerlikaya has said.

The collapse fuelled criticism of a government amnesty granted past year to people accused of building illegally - a measure announced before municipal elections this March. In January 2017, two people died when another building collapsed in a working-class part of the city.

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