Sikandar Khan, 22, was to have got engaged to a girl in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday. But fate had other plans. As part of Rahim Manzil came crashing down, the tempo driver found himself caught amid the falling debris. Huge chunks of concrete fell on him, killing him instantly.
His shattered family is now struggling to cope with the grief.
“This was supposed to be a great day for us but it turned into a disaster. We are waiting to take his body to Bhareji in Uttar Pradesh, his native place,” said Mohammed Saied, 32, a relative.
According to Imran Khan, 24, an employee at the store where Sikandar worked, the first slabs began falling a couple of hours before the collapse. As others rushed out, Sikandar and a few others remained behind in order to shift their employer’s belongings.
“The store owner, Salman Khatri, asked us to shift some things to a nearby building in which he had a room. He asked us to run downstairs and said he would throw us the keys from the third floor. A few seconds after Khatri threw down the keys, the building collapsed, killing him too” said Imran, waiting to receive the bodies after the post-mortem at JJ Hospital.
Of the seven admitted to the hospital, three left against medical advice. The rest had to undergo surgeries for foot injuries.
“We all received electric shocks when the building collapsed. We knew the building was about to collapse and should have rushed out faster,” said Naseer Ansari, 28, awaiting surgery outside the emergency operation theatre.
He complained that he was made to wait outside the operation theatre for hours.
“The doctors told us the surgery had to be done immediately, but three of us have been waiting for almost 10 hours,” said Ansari.
Doctors admitted that the operation theatres were occupied with routine surgeries, which delayed Ansari’s operation.
They said that the Critical Care Unit (CCU) was also occupied and a patient had to be shifted to accommodate Marookh Khan, who was also injured in the collapse. He is in a critical condition and on a ventilator.
“Routine surgeries couldn’t be postponed. Our surgeons worked for 18 hours today to finish the workload,” said Dr TP Lahane, dean of the hospital.