Death toll rises in Istanbul building collapse

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 the group said in a statement Thursday

Earlier, health minister Fahrettin Koca increased the death toll to 17.

The collapse took place at around 4pm on the Asian side of Istanbul in the mostly residential Kartal district.

The death toll in Wednesday's building collapse in Istanbul has risen to 21, Turkey's Interior Minister said on Saturday.

Mr Erdogan, visiting the site on Saturday, said: "We have a great number of lessons to learn from this". He said someone had illegally built its top two floors with low quality concrete and sea sand instead of construction-grade concrete and stronger steel.

"We estimate that there were 35 people trapped under the rubble and we have now accounted for 35", he said while stressing that search operations would continue as before. Erdoğan also visited a hospital to talk to survivors, before attending the funeral of the nine members of one family who lost their lives in the disaster.

A majority of buildings in Istanbul are "either unlicensed, illegal or were constructed without any engineering services", they added. They have criticized a government decision to grant amnesty for illegal construction past year ahead of the country's general election. Chief Doctor Recep Demirhan says that two are in very serious condition, according to Turkey's official Anadolu news agency.

Officials have not disclosed how many people are still unaccounted for.

Fourteen apartments, housing at least 43 occupants were registered at the site, the city's governor said this week.

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