Five members of a family were buried after a landslide flattened their house in Mahakewadi village in Neral near Karjat early on Monday morning.
The landslide, which took place at 5.15am, was triggered by the heavy rain that has been lashing the state for the past few days.
The victims — Kisan Dighe, 50, wife Sunanda, 45, daughter Archana, 20, son Swapnesh, 19, and mother-in-law Jaibai Kadam, 75 — were sleeping when a retaining wall near their house collapsed, immediately burying them under loose soil and debris.
Trapped, they cried out for help, but the neighbours and police could not save them because of the rain and lack of equipment.
Their bodies were pulled out after nearly three hours of rescue operations. Kisan, his wife and son were found below a cupboard that fell on them, the Neral police said.
While Kisan worked at construction sites as a daily wage earner, Sunanda worked as domestic help, and Swapnesh was a horse operator at Matheran.
Local guardian minister Prakash Mehta has announced Rs4 lakh compensation for each of the victims.
“Jaibai had come to stay with her daughter on Sunday. Sagar, 24, the eldest son of the family, was not at home, as he was visiting his sister, who had shifted to a nearby village after marriage,” said Mukund Mhatre, sub-inspector, Neral police station.
The Dighes’ house, the police said, was located on a slope near a nullah.
“Around seven years ago, Kisan and Sunanda’s sister, who was also their neighbour, had jointly constructed a 12-ft wall close to the victims’ house. Because of the heavy rain, the wall collapsed. The stones and the loose soil came tumbling down on the house and buried the family,” said senior inspector RD Patil.
The police said the rescue operations were hampered as they could not take a crane to the area.
“All of them suffered injuries on their heads and chests. We handed over the bodies to their relatives after post-mortem at Neral civil hospital,” said Patil, adding they will investigate if norms had been violated while constructing the wall.