So far, rescuers have pulled seven people alive from a pile of broken concrete and twisted metal where the building once stood in Lagos, Nigeria.
But they were forced to stop work in the middle of a race against time after torrential rains hit the affluent neighborhood of Ikoyi, where the collapse occurred.
Lagos State Official Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu said: “Right now all responders are on the ground as the search and rescue continues. “
Although the official death toll stands at six, witnesses say dozens are missing as workers fear they will be trapped in the rubble heap.
Construction worker Eric Tetteh, who managed to escape with his brother, told the Associated Press that more than 100 people were inside the building at the time.
Olayemi Bello said five of his friends were inside on the verge of collapse and he feared the worst.
He told AP: “When they finish working, they will go out… and talk about work. Now nobody. They are all dead. “
Concerned relatives who feared their loved ones were among those trapped declined to speak to the media but could be heard accusing emergency services of not responding quickly enough.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the acceleration of the rescue efforts.
Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, has experienced tremendous development in recent years as the country is expected to become one of the most populous in the world over the next few decades.
New upscale apartments sprang up in Ikoyi, and the collapsed building was one of three private towers, where the cheapest unit was on sale for $ 1.2 million (£ 880,000 at current prices ).
Reuters phone calls to the numbers listed for developer Fourscore Homes and the main building contractor were not answered on Tuesday.