At least 30 people were crushed to death on the outskirts of Mumbai after a building collapsed while under construction, police said yesterday, but two toddlers were among more than 50 pulled from the wreckage alive.
As rescuers combed the rubble for survivors, two toddlers were pulled out alive to cries of “God is great,” and cheers and clapping, a photographer at the scene said.
The seven-story building collapsed on Thursday evening, creating a mangled heap of steel and concrete of about 8m high that rescuers and local residents struggled to cut through.
Rescue efforts continued through the night, with diggers and steel cutters employed to reach victims, who were carried away on makeshift stretchers. Limbs protruded from the wreckage in a grisly scene.
“Thirty have died and at least 55 others are injured,” said Sandeep Malvi, a spokesman for the local municipal administration in Thane, where the building collapsed about 35km from the center of Mumbai.
Among the dead were at least seven women and nine children, police said.
Local police commissioner K.P. Raghuvanshi said his force had registered a case of causing death by negligence against the builders.
“There are two builders and we are looking for them,” he told reporters at the scene.
Most of the victims were migrant laborers who travel to Mumbai to find work on building sites, earning as little as a few hundred rupees (US$6) a day. They often also bring their wives and children, who live on-site.
The local civil administration said it was probing the incident and would check other new structures built recently in the vicinity.
The Hindustan Times daily said the builders may have ignored building regulations.
“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 a local disaster management official as saying.