Six people, including two children, died on the spot when a slab from the third floor of Lata building in Bhayander (E) came crashing into the compound on Friday evening. Four persons were grievously injured and rushed to the nearby Umrao Hospital in Mira Road.
The incident took place around 5.50pm. The slab in the A-block first fell on to the second floor parapet and then to the ground floor.
“The rescue operations lasted for more than four hours. We had to evacuate the residents from the premises and control the angry mob that had gathered minutes later,” said Rajesh Mor, Thane rural superintendent of police. “The building was already in a dilapidated condition and residents had been issued warnings earlier. We are investigating the matter,” Mor said. Bhayander police authorities registered a case of accidental death.
Eyewitnesses claimed there were many children in the area because a coaching class was in progress. “Children were attending a private tuition class on the ground floor of the building at the time of the incident. They were students of Class 2,” said Prakash Kadam, a shopkeeper, who helped in the rescue operations.
The deceased have been identified as Rajashree Yadav, 7, Shilpa De, 5, Sonali Chandrapol, 20, Gayatri Yadav, 28, Netra Retrekar, 18, and Rajendra Yadav, 35. The injured have been identified as Durgesh, 5, Vijaykumar Yadav, 30, Bharti Retrekar, 31, Jayashree Baria, 4.
The Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) had declared the building dangerous but despite warnings, residents did not vacate the structure. “We belong to lower middle class families and it is impossible to buy a new flat in the city,” said a resident, requesting anonymity.
“The authorities have been issuing warnings for the last five years, but there have been no provisions for rehabilitation,” he added.