A five-story residential block collapsed in Mumbai at daybreak yesterday, killing at least five people and leaving dozens feared trapped inside after the latest building disaster to hit India’s financial capital.
Rescue workers scrambled to find survivors amid the debris of the flattened block in the east of the city, which is owned by the city’s civic administrative body, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.
“My heart is thumping with fear. I’m just hoping,” said tearful housewife Shanta Makwana, whose daughter and grandchildren were trapped inside the building in which she used to live.
Several diggers were pressed into action to lift some of the larger slabs of concrete to allow teams of rescuers to begin the task of taking out bodies and searching for survivors.
One woman was removed covered in a dark red patterned cloth and carried to a waiting ambulance on a stretcher. Crowds of women waiting nearby could be heard sobbing. A crushed teddy bear and a dismantled gas stove were among the items poking out from the rubble.
“Figures show five deaths and 27 injured up to 2pm,” the corporation’s spokesperson Vijay Khabale-Patil said.
The injured were taken to nearby hospitals.
Local politician Bhai Jagtap said that 22 families lived in the destroyed block.
“The rest of the people are down below, calling people from inside. Rescuers are doing their level best to save lives,” he said after visiting the scene.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) also said that 22 families were housed there.
Local commander Alok Avasthy from the NDMA’s response force initially said that up to 70 people were feared trapped.
The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai said that the building was for employees of the local administration and their families who had been asked to move out earlier this year.
“The building was around 30 years old. We had issued a notice to them in April to vacate the building, but they did not act,” Khabale-Patil said.
He did not explain why the families had been asked to leave.