iconimg Saturday, May 30, 2015

Agence France-Presse
Panaji, January 04, 2014
Thirteen bodies were pulled from the wreckage of a building under construction that collapsed "like a house of cards" in a coastal village in the tourist state of Goa on Saturday, authorities said. On Sunday, the toll was reported to have risen to 14. The residential building caved in around mid-afternoon, when some 50 daily wage labourers, were working on the site, police said.

"We have got 13 bodies from the wreckage. We expect the death toll to rise," Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar told AFP.

A witness said the building collapsed like "a pack of cards".

Fire and emergency service crews rushed to the spot. Rescue workers using cranes and bulldozers, shovels and bare hands, struggled to shift concrete slabs and other debris to free the trapped labourers.

Hundreds of onlookers stood watching the rescue efforts as police sought to shoo them away from the site, saying they were hampering access for machinery.

"The current priority is to rescue people trapped under the rubble and the government has also taken help of the army to clear the debris," Parikkar told the PTI.

Parrikar had been near the village to attend a state-sponsored folklore festival that was later cancelled by the government.

The building collapse, the latest in a string of deadly construction cave-ins in India recently, occurred in the seaside village of Canacona, south of the Goan capital of Panaji.

Initial reports said that the structure was five-storey apartment residence.

"We will immediately arrest the builder, the contractor and municipal officials involved in sanctioning this construction site," the chief minister said.

"I am personally monitoring the situation," he added.

He said that police had already filed complaints against those people involved in the construction of the building.

The bodies were shifted to a morgue at a nearby hospital.

Last September, a rundown five-storey residential block in India's financial hub Mumbai collapsed, killing 60 people.

The building had been listed by municipal authorities as needing "urgent repairs", according to local media reports.

Last April, another building collapse in Mumbai killed 74 people.