Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 28 October 2020

At least 13 dead in building collapse in India and dozens feared trapped

Residents say cracks appeared in the building, which comprised 54 apartments, before it came down

A damaged room of a building is seen after a portion of a three-storey residential building collapsed in Bhiwandi, on the outskirts of Mumbai. Reuters
A damaged room of a building is seen after a portion of a three-storey residential building collapsed in Bhiwandi, on the outskirts of Mumbai. Reuters

At least 13 people were killed and up to 25 still feared trapped after a three-storey apartment block collapsed in western India on Monday.

Local residents cheered as emergency workers from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) pulled 20 survivors – including two boys aged four and seven – from the rubble of the building in Bhiwandi, near Mumbai.

"The total number of deaths is 13," NDRF commandant Ithape Pandit told AFP.

NDRF director general Satya Narayan Pradhan tweeted that specialist teams and sniffer dogs were trying to rescue another "20-25 feared trapped".

An official at the Thane city authority, which oversees Bhiwandi, told AFP that more than 40 emergency workers were helping search for survivors.

Images broadcast on the NDRF's official Twitter feed showed emergency workers combing through concrete and brick rubble with electrical wires hanging over their heads.

"We heard a noise and I noticed that there were cracks on the floor," resident Sharif Ansari, 35, told Reuters.

"I woke up my neighbours and my wife and we rushed everyone down."

Mr Ansari said he went back up to alert more people and was on the first floor with some other residents when the building came down.

"We jumped from there and managed to escape but there are at least another 60 people trapped," he said.

The cause of the pre-dawn accident was not immediately clear, but building collapses are common during India's June-September monsoon, with old and rickety structures buckling after days of non-stop rain.

Last month, more than a dozen people were killed when a building collapsed in the industrial town of Mahad, about 160km south of Mumbai.

Updated: September 21, 2020 08:16 PM

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