Ghana mall collapse: Death toll rises to 18 as city council official detained

This photo taken on Thursday shows rescue workers in the Ghana capital Accra searching for survivors in the rubble of a four-storey shopping mall that collapsed on Wednesday, killing at least 18 people.

Authorities in Ghana's capital Accra have arrested a local government official over the collapse of a four-story shopping mall that has killed at least 18 people, the Associated Press reported today.

Voices could still be heard in the rubble of the Melcom store, 48 hours after it collapsed, the BBC reported. Officials expect the death toll to climb as other bodies are believed to be in the concrete ruins. 

At least 78 people have been pulled alive from the debris.

Rescue workers, including a team from the Israeli Defence Force, are still searching the wreckage for survivors of Wednesday’s tragedy, which happened just minutes before the store was due to open for business.

More from GlobalPost: Ghana: Melcom department store collapses in Accra, 'many trapped' (VIDEO)

According to the BBC, Ghanian President John Dramani Mahama said those responsible for the "negligence will pay a price."

The AP said city council official Carl Henry Clerk has been accused of allowing the multi-storey home goods store to be built without a construction permit.

Police are also searching for the owner of the building, the engineer and the architect.

But time is running out for rescue workers.

"The first 48 hours are very critical and it is my hope that we'd be able to reach anybody trapped down there as soon as possible," Mahama was quoted by Reuters as saying Thursday.