Death toll rises in Mumbai building collapse

More than 50 dead and dozens feared trapped in rubble after five-storey building collapses in India’s financial capital.

The building caved in early on Friday morning in southeast Mumbai, trapping dozens of people [AFP]
The building caved in early on Friday morning in southeast Mumbai, trapping dozens of people [AFP]

Authorities have confirmed that 61 people died and 33 were injured when an apartment building in India’s financial capital of Mumbai collapsed.

Authorities told Al Jazeera that the rescue operation was now over and a clear-up of the site would begin on Sunday morning.

Alok Avasthy of the National Disaster Management Authority said rescuers had saved more than two dozen people trapped under the rubble of the five-storey building that caved in early on Friday near Dockyard Road in Mumbai’s southeast, by Sunday. An equal number of people had been rescued.

“We were given 89 as the number of people in the building,” Avasthy told the AFP news agency from a control centre set up at the collapse site.

He said a man in his 40s was the latest to be pulled from under the twisted iron bars and chunks of fallen concrete on Saturday afternoon.

“One of his legs was stuck under a slab and he was brought out after [the slab] was removed,” Avasthy said.

Rescuers pulled a small girl alive from the flattened remains of the building nearly 12 hours into the search, invigorating the complex mission involving hundreds of workers with crowbars, hammers and heavy machinery.

But as the search continued overnight, more bodies were found.

Local officials said 22 families had been housed in the block owned by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai in the city’s eastern suburbs.

“More [bodies] are buried in the rubble” Tanaji Ghadge, Mumbai deputy police commissioner, said.

Distraught relatives stood tearfully watching the rescue efforts, hoping family members would be pulled alive from the mass of concrete.

The disaster was the third deadly building collapse in six months in Mumbai.

At least 72 people died in April in Mumbai when an illegally constructed building fell down, and in June, at least 10 people, including five children, died when a three-storey building collapsed in the city.

Across India, buildings falling down have become relatively common.

Massive demand for housing around India’s fast-growing cities combined with pervasive corruption often result in contractors cutting corners by using substandard materials or adding unauthorised floors.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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