Dozens of people feared trapped in collapsed Mumbai building
Rescue workers say more than 30 people could be buried in the rubble. (Reuters: Prashant Waydande)
A four-storey building collapsed in India’s financial capital of Mumbai on Tuesday (local time), trapping dozens in the rubble and with at least four people confirmed dead, a fire department official said.
- Poeple formed a human chain to remove the rubble using their hands
- The building was in a narrow lane in a congested area, hampering rescue efforts
- An opposition lawmaker described the building as a “death trap”
“We don’t know exactly how many are trapped, but with the input provided by neighbours, we estimate more than 30 could be trapped,” the official said.
Fire official Ashok Talpade said three people had been pulled alive and rushed to hospital from the site in Dongri, a crowded residential section of Mumbai.
They included one child, who was allowed to go home after being treated, he said.
The building was located in a narrow lane in a congested area, making it difficult to send earth-moving machines there, Mr Talpade said, adding that police were using sniffer dogs in their rescue operation.
PS Rahangdale, chief fire officer in Mumbai, said search and rescue efforts were ongoing.
“There are people trapped under the debris,” he said.
“Adjacent buildings are in very dangerous condition and are vacated.”
Television images showed people forming a human chain to remove the rubble using their hands.
“The building crashed with a heavy sound and we thought there was an earthquake,” a local resident told the New Delhi Television news channel.
Maharashtra state’s top elected official, Devendra Fadanavis, told reporters that the building was 100 years old and 15 families were living there.
Mr Talpade said the families were asked to vacate the dilapidated building some time ago but they continued to live there.
Waris Pathan, an opposition lawmaker, said the building was a death trap, with authorities saying they had no money to rebuild the structure.
It was the second such collapse around Mumbai in less than 10 days.
Building collapses are common in India during the June-September monsoon season, when heavy rains weaken the foundations of structures that are poorly constructed.
On Sunday, a three-storey building collapsed in a hilly area in the northern Indian town of Solan following heavy rains, killing 14 people.