Rescue operations at the site of the building collapse in Cancona town of Goa were halted this afternoon after two adjacent five-storey buildings tilted precariously, even as 17 bodies have been pulled out so far from the caved-in structure.
"The rescue operation has been stopped as two buildings adjacent to the collapsed structure tilted, raising fears that they will cave-in," a senior fire and emergency department official said today.
The constant drilling in the debris led to weakening of the adjacent buildings, fire officials said.
The adjacent buildings showing signs of tilting are also five-storey residential structures which are partially completed and were being constructed by the same builder.
The rescuers have so far pulled out 17 bodies from the debris of the building which crumbled on Saturday afternoon. Over a dozen more people are still feared trapped in the debris.
A senior fire and emergency services officer at the site told PTI that one body was recovered late last night and another at midnight, taking the toll to 17.
Sixteen people have been admitted to state-run Hospicio Hospital in Margao and Goa Medical College and Hospital near here.
Rescuers said 15 more people are still trapped in the debris.
The five-storey building was coming up in Chawdi area of Cancona town, 70 km from Panaji.
Police have already registered a case against the builder Vishwas Desai and contractor Jaideep Saigal. Both are untraceable, police said.
Rescue operation has been made difficult by the location of the building which stood on a narrow lane, one km off the national highway linking Goa to Karnataka.