Death toll rises to 19, likely to rise more as there is no sign of life | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Death toll rises to 19, likely to rise more as there is no sign of life

Death toll in the building collapse of an industrial unit in focal point area occurred on the night of April 15 today rose to 19. Rajeev Bhaskar reports.

punjab Updated: Apr 19, 2012 20:20 IST
Rajeev Bhaskar

Death toll in the building collapse of an industrial unit in focal point area occurred on the night of April 15 on Thursday rose to 19. It is likely to rise more as joint rescue team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Army on Thusday launched an intensive search of any live person under the debris, but found no sign of life except dead bodies.

While one dead body was recovered in the evening and four more were spotted by the rescue team and were yet to be evacuated as these were trapped under the debris, Commandant of National Disaster Response Team, SK Verma told Hindustan Times adding that death toll has risen to 19 now.

Deputy Commissioner Priyank Bharti also confirmed the death toll as 19 saying that some of the dead bodies were yet to recovered after clearing the debris from the area, where it were stuck.

After rescuing a trapped worker late last night, rescue team maintained caution while removing debris and today morning when some call came that somebody from under the debris called that he is alive and trapped near the cutter machines number five.

Accordingly rescue team changed their strategy of operation and created four vertical entrances up to the ground floors, where it was expected that somebody could have survived apart from creating as many as ten holes for ventilation of trapped persons.

“Equipped search lights, wire cameras, loudspeakers and victim location detectors separate rescue teams of NDRF and Army entered up to the ground floors from created vertical entrances, and hours of search could not yield any result and there was no response from anywhere during search of entire ground floor”, Commandant Verma said.

Asked about the phone call regarding presence of live person under the debris, Commandant said that with the help of factory workers, the specific area, mentioned on the phone call was extensively searched, but nothing was found.

“It may be a false call, but we cannot take any such information lightly and had no option to attempt to search any live persons and that is what we did”, Commandant Verma said admitting that during three hours search of any live person under the debris, the operation of clearance of heavy material was kept stalled, so that chances of survival of any trapped person should be disturbed.

“During search operation, we found some dead bodies lying under the debris and now we will remove it from debris with due respect to the departed souls”, Commandant said.

Finally at around 4pm, rescue teams jointly decided to accelerate the operation to remove debris and heavy cranes, JCBs and excavators were pressed into service.

Even Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Tulsi Ram, himself entered under the debris in search of any live persons but could find only few dead bodies lying under the debris.

In entire operation of the day, Commissioner of Police, Gaurav Yadav and Deputy Commissioner Priyank Bharti remained on the spot to coordinate rescue operation.