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Death toll rises in Mumbai building collapse

At least 72 reported dead as two-day rescue operation at site is called off in India's capital.

Last Modified: 06 Apr 2013 09:52
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Most of the victims were workers and members of their families living in the unfinished building [EPA]

The death toll in the collapse of a building in a Mumbai suburb rose to 72 people amid expectations that no one pulled out of the debris would be found alive.

Among the dead are at least 17 children, reports said.

The two-day rescue operation in Thane ended on Saturday, police said, confirming that they had pulled out 20 bodies overnight.

A section of the seven-storey unfinished building, home mostly to labourers working on the site, first collapsed late on Thursday evening before the entire structure came down.

Police officer Dahi Phale said that rescue workers with sledgehammers, chainsaws and hydraulic jacks worked through Friday night to break through the tower of rubble in their search for possible survivors.

Six bulldozers were brought to the scene.

Woman rescued

National Disaster Management Authority volunteers managed to rescue an elderly woman from the collapsed building late on Friday.

She had been trapped for several hours under the debris.   

The victims were workers and members of their families who were living in some of the still-unfinished areas of the building.

The Hindustan Times daily newspaper said the builders may have flouted norms.

"Seven floors were built in merely three to four months. It was bound to collapse due to the inferior construction material used by the builders," the paper quoted the local head of the disaster management cell as saying.

Building collapses are a common occurrence in India, where a booming economy has led to a mushrooming of multi-storey structures which are often unauthorised and flout safety laws.

Two years ago, 66 people were killed and 80 were injured when a building collapsed in Delhi.

"India has a very stringent and tough building regulations, but many get through the cracks," Al Jazeera's Sohail Rahman said, reporting from Mumbai.

"It's very difficult to try and adhere to the building regulations, and also police it".

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Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies
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