Chinese officials: house collapse crushes 4 people, buries at least a dozen others

A two-story house in central China collapsed Friday morning while being lifted off its foundation, crushing four people to death and burying at least a dozen others, local officials said.

Dozens of people were helping to move the house, which sat on low-lying ground in Hedao village, when it collapsed, the Yanjin county government said on its website. In addition to the four dead, others were buried, said a Yanjin official who would give only his surname, Zheng.

Firefighters, police and emergency crews retrieved the bodies and all the injured from the rubble by late afternoon, local officials said. Li Ke, a Yanjin official at the scene, said at least a dozen were injured, some seriously.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency said at the time of the accident, a 37-person construction crew, mostly comprised of women, was working at the site in the village, in central Henan province about 650 kilometers (400 miles) south of Beijing.

The government and state media accounts did not say whether the house was being moved to a different location or just being placed on a more elevated foundation.

The county government said the homeowner had hired a construction company from a neighboring county without proper experience for the job. After the accident, police detained the chief labor contractor as part of their investigation, the government said.