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Rescuers search for victims in the aftermath of the collapse of a two-story restaurant in Xiangfen county in northern China's Shanxi province. Image Credit: AP

Beijing: At least 17 people died on Saturday when a restaurant in northern China collapsed, state media said, with rescuers pulling dozens of survivors from the rubble and searching for others believed to be trapped.

The two-storey building used for banquets came down in the morning in Xiangfen county, in Shanxi province, according to broadcaster CGTN.

Xinhua news agency reported that "45 people have been brought out, of which 17 were dead, seven seriously injured and 21 slightly injured."

Rescuers in orange overalls and hard hats combed the crumbled ruin of the building, images on the CGTN website showed, with a decorative painting seen on one of the few walls still intact.

Seven hundred people were involved in the rescue operation, CGTN said.

While the cause of the disaster was not immediately clear, China is no stranger to building collapses and deadly construction accidents.

They are typically blamed on the country's rapid growth leading to corner-cutting by builders and the widespread flouting of safety rules.