PHNOM PENH – The death toll from the collapse of a building under construction in Cambodia was put at 36 on Sunday, even as an additional survivor was pulled from rubble, officials said.
At least a dozen bodies were found in overnight operations at the site in the coastal province of Kep, where the building toppled on Friday. Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the end of the rescue operation.
Twenty-three people were found alive, according to a statement from Kep provincial authorities. It said that at least 13 women and six children were among the dead.
Women are often employed as construction workers in Cambodia and neighboring Thailand, but families of workers also often live at the construction sites.
In a news conference, Hun Sen said the couple who owned the building and hired the construction crew had been detained and sent to court to face charges. He did not specify the charges.
Kep provincial authorities said earlier that a committee had been formed to officially investigate the cause of the accident, which a provincial police official earlier said occurred when concrete was being poured on its top level.
The survivor found Sunday morning was a young woman pulled from the rubble by members of Rapid Rescue Company 711, a military unit that is the country’s elite specialized emergency rescue team.
Hun Sen posted a video of the rescue on his Facebook page. He traveled to the site Friday “to lead the rescue team,” he announced on Facebook. He also visited the provincial hospital where the injured were being treated.
Last June, a seven-story building collapsed in Sihanoukville, another coastal area, leaving at least 28 people dead and 26 injured.
Such accidents underline concerns about the area’s rapid development to cater to a booming tourism industry and inattention to safety.
In December, a Buddhist temple collapsed while under construction in Siem Reap, home of Cambodia’s famed Angkor temples, killing at least three people and injuring 13, including two monks.