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Death toll from building collapse in New Mexico rises to eight

Staff Writer |
Rescuers on Saturday found the body of a worker beneath the rubble of a commercial mall that collapsed in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, bringing to eight the number of workers killed in the collapse.

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The civil protection authorities of the state of Nuevo Leon said the body was found at 4:26 a.m. local time, after more than 40 hours of search efforts by some 200 rescue workers.

More than 20 workers were laboring on the structure which was under construction when it collapsed.

The cause of the collapse is still unknown.

Dozens of rescue crew and soldiers initially recovered the bodies of seven construction workers from underneath the rubble two or three hours after the accident occurred.

In addition to the dead, 14 workers and one firefighter at the scene were injured.

With the recovery of the eighth body, rescue workers have completed their search efforts as there have been no further reports of unaccounted for or missing construction workers, said Miguel Angel Perales, deputy director for the state's civil protection agency.

"There are no other persons in the rubble based on the information we have," Perales said.

On Thursday night, the Monterrey mayor's office said the construction was illegal. In November of last year, construction had been suspended after the work on the center had caused a wall on a neighboring house to fall.

According to local reports, the construction, located in the Espacio Cumbres neighborhood, consisted of three stories for businesses and parking stalls when it collapsed.

On Friday, Jaime Rodriguez, governor of Nuevo Leon, said the investigation will have to determine who is responsible, whether that be the local authorities, the construction company or the engineer who designed the building.

"We cannot let this go unpunished, because ultimately that would be a bad example. Our city has to grow with certainty and safety," Rodriguez said.

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