Mumbai building collapse: Death toll rises as search called off

Officials say 14 people killed after 100-year-old building crumbles during heavy monsoon rains.

    Rescuers carry a survivor from the site of a building that collapsed in Mumbai, India [Rajanish Kakade/AP]
    Rescuers carry a survivor from the site of a building that collapsed in Mumbai, India [Rajanish Kakade/AP]

    Rescuers have called off the search for survivors after a building collapsed during heavy monsoon rains in India's financial capital Mumbai, killing 14 people.

    More than 40 people were trapped on Tuesday after the four-storey building crumbled in southern Mumbai's congested Dongri area, with rescuers and volunteers struggling to conduct their search in the narrow lanes.

    Disaster management spokesperson Tanaji Kamble told AFP news agency on Wednesday that 14 people, including four women and three children, were killed.

    India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said a woman was pulled alive from the rubble earlier Wednesday, although her young children died.

    "We rescued 28-year-old Alima Indrasi with her two children early on Wednesday morning," Sachidanand Gawde, NDRF spokesperson told AFP. 

    Rescuers have so far pulled out 11 survivors from the rubble, according to NDRF official Bijendra Dahiya, who earlier said that workers were still looking for two to three people feared to be still trapped.

    A 16-year-old girl trapped under a heavy door was taken out by rescuers who cut through iron beams and cleared debris using hydraulic cutters.

    Dahiya said it had taken more than 24 hours to clear most of the debris as the lane where the collapse occurred was too narrow for rescue vehicles.

    Most of the equipment was carried by hand and people also formed a human chain to remove the rubble. Intermittent rain also hampered operations.

    At least 15 families were living in the building which was about 100 years old, Devendra Fadnavis, state chief minister, said.

    Fadnavis has announced compensation of 500,000 Indian rupees ($7,268) each for relatives of those who died and that all medical expenses of the injured would be borne by the state government.

    The tragedy in Dongri was the second collapse to hit Mumbai in two weeks and the third in Maharashtra state.

    Thirty people were killed earlier this month when a wall collapsed in the city, and 15 others died in the nearby city of Pune when another wall gave way in June.

    Building collapses in Mumbai, home to around 20 million people, are common during the monsoon season with rickety structures buckling under the weight of continuous rain.

    Across South Asia over the past week, torrential downpours have swept away homes, triggered landslides and claimed more than 100 lives. 

    SOURCE: News agencies