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Death toll in Istanbul building collapse rises to 21

11 February 2019

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.

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.

'In this area, we have faced a very serious problem with illegal businesses like this done to make more money, ' President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters at the scene. The toll is up from a figure of 15 on Friday with 13 injured. "We will take the necessary measures".

Officials haven't disclosed how many people are still unaccounted for.

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.

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"Those who are responsible will be held to account", Soylu said.

The cause of Wednesday's tragedy is under investigation but officials have said the top three floors of the eight-story building in the Kartal district were built illegally.

Turkish authorities said 43 people were registered as living in the building. They have criticized a government decision to grant amnesty for illegal construction a year ago ahead of the country's general election.

Engineers and architects regularly warn against the illegal addition of storeys to buildings which they say weakens structures, and poses a greater risk in the event of an quake.

A four-storey structure in Istanbul crumbled previous year following violent thunderstorms. In January 2017, two people died when another building collapsed in a working class part of town.

Death toll in Istanbul building collapse rises to 21