Thirteen persons were killed and one person was injured when a dome-shaped slab that was being placed atop a four-storey under-construction building in Pune collapsed on Tuesday.
The building, which will house the Panchakarma cancer hospital, was being constructed by the Bharatiya Sanskriti Darshan trust, which runs an ayurveda medical college off the Pune-Ahmednagar road near Wagholi, some 30 kilometres from there.
Around 15 people were trapped under the debris. Of them, only one person was brought out safely in the five-hour-long rescue operation by the fire brigade. The deceased include labourers, mostly hailing from Orissa and Karnataka. The injured person was taken to Rakshak hospital; he is reportedly out of danger.
According to residents in the vicinity and the workers present at the site, the slab came down within a few seconds in the afternoon, giving the victims no chance to even move from their spots.
“The workers were on the fourth floor when the slab gave way,” said Ranjit Nimbalkar, a doctor at the medical college.
The fire brigade had deputed two officials to pull the bodies of the victims out from under the rubble. “We have recovered all 13 dead bodies,” said chief fire officer Prashant Ranpise. The bodies were badly disfigured, with many of their faces rendered unrecognisable.
Deputy superintendent of police SP Karade said inferior quality material could be one of the reasons the slab collapsed, saying, “We’re probing into the reasons behind the collapse.”
A construction company, Prompt Landmarks private limited run by one Promod Gorhe had been given the contract for the building. Gorhe could not be reached for comment.