Turkey's president visits Istanbul building collapse site

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Turkey building collapse death toll rises to 15

Officials have not disclosed how many people are still unaccounted for. The nine coffins were covered in green cloths.

Five other family members are among the 14 hospitalized.

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. The building had 14 apartments with 43 people registered as residents. 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".

President Tayyip Erdogan talks to residents as he visits the site of a collapsed building in Istanbul, Turkey, February 9, 2019.

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The death toll from the collapse of an apartment building in Istanbul rose to 17 as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that authorities have "lessons to learn" from the incident.

By Saturday, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu increased the death toll to 18.

"In this area, we have faced a very serious problem with illegal businesses like this done to make more money", Erdogan told reporters on his first visit to the site.

The cause of the collapse is under investigation but officials have said the top three floors of the building were built illegally.

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

Hopes that more survivors might be found were raised early Friday when a 16-year-old boy was pulled alive from the rubble, the news agency said.

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

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