Thu, Jul 19, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Three killed, more trapped as building collapses into another near New Delhi

AP, NEW DELHI

Rescuers work at the site of a collapsed building in Shahberi village east of New Delhi yesterday.

Photo: AP

A six-story building under construction collapsed onto an adjacent building east of the Indian capital, New Delhi, killing at least three people and trapping several others under the debris, police said yesterday.

Chief fire officer Arun Kumar Singh said that at least 12 workers were in the building at the time and are feared trapped under rubble, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

The rescuers have so far pulled three bodies from the debris, police officer Ajay Pal Sharma said.

The second building also collapsed under the weight of the first building that fell on Tuesday night, he said.

The four-story building was two years old and only one family lived in it, district magistrate B.N. Singh said.

One security guard and some workers on the ground floor might have been inside at the time as well, Singh said.

More than 100 rescuers with cranes, sledgehammers and chainsaws worked through the night to remove the debris in Shahberi village, about 40km east of New Delhi, rescue agency official Krishan Kumar said.

Drills were being used to remove metal rods to reach those trapped. A dog squad was at the site smelling for signs of life.

The owner of the building under construction and his two associates have been detained for questioning, Sharma said.

The cause of the collapse was not immediately known.

The National Disaster Response Force, a federal rescue agency, was helping police in the search and rescue operations, response force official Ravinder Singh said, adding that it would take several hours to clear the debris.

Angry residents said that the two buildings collapsed at about 8:30pm, but the police and fire services reached the site an hour and a half later.

The rescue effort was slow to begin with, resident Praveen Srivastava told the New Delhi Television news channel.

Another eyewitness said she felt the earth shaking as the buildings came crashing down.

“The impact was such that I wondered whether the buildings have been dynamited,” she told the Times Now television news channel.

Rescuers found it difficult to take cranes and drilling machines to the site, where the ground was dug up in places during the construction work and had filled with water from monsoon rains.

Television footage showed a police officer dangling from a crane, trying to locate those trapped through the windows of the collapsed building.

Building collapses are common in India during the June-to-September monsoon season, when heavy rains weaken the foundations of structures that are poorly constructed.

The worst collapse over the past few decades killed at least 72 people in Mumbai in 2013.

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