Over a dozen trapped in Pakistan hotel collapse

A hotel has collapsed in Pakistan's popular hill resort of Murree with more than a dozen people believed trapped in the rubble, police said.

Army teams with heavy cranes have joined police and the local administration in the rescue operation, and none of the victims have been recovered so far, the local police chief, Sajid Kiyani, told AFP by telephone.

The building was a nine-storey block and the whole structure came down, "trapping some 12-14 people," he said.

Tourists coming to enjoy the scenic beauty of Murree, 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Islamabad, used the hotel, he said.

The building's owner, his wife and daughter were inside.

"His daughter trapped in the rubble called police on her mobile phone and we are in touch with her," Kiyani said.

"We are very hopeful she will be rescued soon," he added.

Two families from the central city of Multan who had hired rooms Wednesday were also in the building when it collapsed before dawn, the officer said.

The hotel was "not fully occupied" as the flow of tourists had declined because schools had reopened after the summer vacation, he said.

Police and army rescue teams are trying to remove rubble and retrieve survivors, he said.

The cause of the collapse was not immediately clear. It came in the wake of frequent heavy rains in northern areas since last month.

More than 200 people have died in monsoon rains this year, most of them in roof collapses in mountainous North West Frontier Province and central Punjab province.

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