Rescued: ‘God is great,’ one of the crowd chanted as Havva Tekgoz (5) was pulled from the rubble. Photo: Huseyin Aldemir

A five-year-old girl was rescued from the rubble of an eight-storey apartment building in Istanbul yesterday, raising the number of survivors of the collapsed structure to 13. At least 10 people have been found dead.

The girl, Havva Tekgoz, was pulled from the debris about 18 hours after the building in the mostly residential Kartal district, on the Asian side of the city, collapsed. She was carried to a waiting ambulance on a stretcher with her neck in a brace, as one person in a crowd of onlookers chanted “God is great”.

Overnight, emergency services also rescued a nine-year-old boy.

Authorities haven’t disclosed how many people remain unaccounted for. The building had 14 apartments with 43 people registered as residents.

Murat Kurum, the environment and urbanisation minister, said that some apartments had guests at the time of the collapse, without providing details.

Mr Kurum said the emergency teams are still “receiving sounds”, suggesting signs of life from under the rubble.

The cause of the collapse was under investigation but officials said the top three floors had been illegally built.

Experts from the Istanbul branch of the chamber of civil engineers who visited the site concluded that the “load-bearing columns had lost the capacity to carry the weight” of the building.

A majority of buildings in Istanbul are “either unlicensed, illegal or were constructed without any engineering services”, they added.

The incident has raised alarm over the scope of possible destruction in the event of a large earthquake in the city.

Irish Independent

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