Brazil building collapse death toll rises to four: official

Firefighters search for survivors after a seven-story residential building collapsed in Fortaleza, Brazil, on October 15, 2019 (AFP Photo/Rodrigo Patrocinio)

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - The death toll from a building collapse in Brazil has risen to four, officials said Thursday, but the figure could go higher as rescuers search for another six people reported missing.

Initial reports said nine people were pulled alive from the rubble of the seven-story apartment building in the northeastern city of Fortaleza after it imploded Tuesday.

Among those rescued was architecture student David Sampaio, who was located after sending a selfie to his WhatsApp chat group showing himself smiling and with his thumb up while trapped under debris.

It is still not clear what caused the building to suddenly collapse. But the tower had been built illegally, G1 news site reported earlier, citing the city council.

In a statement issued Thursday, the Ceara state public security department said four deaths had been recorded so far.

G1 later reported a fifth body had been pulled from the rubble.