[UPDATE] Death toll rises to 21 in İstanbul building collapse

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PHOTO: NTV

The death toll has risen to twenty one and dozens of people are currently hospitalized for injuries sustained in an eight-story residential building collapse in İstanbul on Wednesday.

A 5-year-old girl was evacuated from the rubble 19 hours after the incident.

It was not immediately clear why the building, in the Kartal district on the Asian side of the city, had collapsed.

Three of the injured are in critical condition.

İstanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya told reporters at the scene that 43 people were registered in 14 apartments at the address but that the top three floors of the building had been built illegally.

Yerlikaya also said there was a textile workshop on the ground floor that was operating without a license.

The chairman of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said search and rescue operations were underway. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent the interior and environment ministers to the scene, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

Emergency teams pulled at least three people out alive as crowds surrounded the site. Roads leading to the building were blocked by vehicles and onlookers.

In the meantime, an investigation has been launched into the incident while an İstanbul court has imposed a broadcasting ban on media outlets preventing them from covering developments related to the tragedy.

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