Koeln building collapses, 9 missing
Nine people were still missing when a building in Western German city of Koeln collapsed on Tuesday, German news agency DPA reported.
The four-story building, housing archives of Koeln city, collapsed into a pile of rubble at around 2 p.m. local time (1300 GMT).
Many people working inside the building were able to flee to the safe place, but German official said nine people were still missing.
"There is an eyewitness report that a married couple was seen at the window of the apartment block when it collapsed. There have also been indications that seven other people could be missing," Koeln city hall said.
About 180 firefighters were sent to the scene, and sniffer dogs were searching the possible survivors.
Local press quoted fire department spokesman Daniel Leupold as saying that rescue officials found several lightly injured people at the scene.
The building collapsed onto a street in which work was being carried out on a subway line, Leupold said. However, a spokeswoman for the Koeln city said that the work had finished.
"There was no work taking place directly underneath the building," a spokesman for the metro operator said on NTV.
"As far as I know there was no building work taking place that could have caused this to happen."
DPA quoted Eberhard Illner, a long time staff in the archive building, as saying that the collapse was a "foreseeable disaster".
Illner said he himself had found cracks in the basement of the building last summer.
The building, which has been in use as an archive since 1971, houses 65,000 original documents dating from the year 922 as well as maps, films and photos and items left to the city by figures like composer Jacques Offenbach and Nobel Prize-winning author Heinrich Boell.