iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, July 12, 2013
The number of fatalities in the rain-triggered landslide at Antop hill on Wednesday rose to five as the rescue operation ended after 18 hours. The dead include two minors from a family. The Fire Brigade retrieved the bodies of Sultana Shaikh, 25, and her two children — two-and-a-half-year-old Arif and 36-month-old Rizvan — from the debris on Thursday.

The only surviving member of the family, Sultana’s husband Salim, is recuperating at Sion hospital. Doctors said he would need to undergo surgery.

The neighbours did not know the Shaikh family as they had moved in only a few days ago.

“They had arrived just 15 days back. We hardly saw them,” said Sulaiman Sayyed, a local resident who has been residing in the ill-fated Devram Dada chawl since the last two decades.

Fire brigade officials said the rescue operation ended at 1.40am on Wednesday night.

“Most of the [stone] crushing work had to be done manually. The narrow lanes leading to the accident site prevented the dumpers from reaching there,” said deputy fire officer SA Kale.

“Our officials are currently crushing a boulder that weighs around 2,000kg. The work will be completed in the next 24 hours.”

The incident took place when a large boulder from the hillock came loose during heavy rains, destroying three houses under it.

The first victims were the Kewat family — 22-year-old son Sandeep and his father Ramavtar — whose bodies were retrieved five hours after the incident.

According to the local residents, landslides are routine at this place, but this time the intensity was greater as five lives were lost.

For years, just before the arrival of monsoon, the civic body issues notices asking residents to vacate citing danger, but they ignore the warnings.