At least three people have been found dead in the rubble of the eight-story apartment building that collapsed in Istanbul, while 12 others were pulled out with injuries, officials said on Thursday.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya told reporters that rescuers had made contact with a girl named Havva trapped inside the wreckage and were working to bring her out, about 18 hours after the building fell.

Overnight, emergency services rescued a nine-year old boy from the debris of the building that collapsed on Wednesday afternoon.

Yerlikaya didn’t say how many people remain unaccounted for. The building, located in the mostly residential Kartal district, on the Asian side of the city had 14 apartments with 43 people registered residents.

Yerlikaya said three of the injured were in serious condition.  

 

Rescue efforts  

“All our prayers, all our hearts are with them,” Yerlikaya said. “We are continuing with our search and rescue efforts so that we can deliver good news (about survivors).”

The cause of the collapse was under investigation but officials said the top three floors had been illegally built.

Authorities evacuated seven surrounding buildings and one was under serious risk of collapse. The rescue operation was interrupted three times over fears that it might fall and harm rescuers, Yerlikaya said.