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Mumbai building collapse: Toll reaches 33 as rescue workers pull out more bodies

Officials say the toll could rise as there are possibility of more bodies under the rubble of the building, a 117-year-old five-storey structure which collapsed in the congested Bhendi Bazaar area on Thursday.

india Updated: Sep 01, 2017 09:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent, Mumbai
Mumbai building collapse,Mumbai buiding,house collapse
A emergency service worker looks at a hand sticking of the rubble of a collapsed building in Mumbai on Thursday. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

At least 33 people have been confirmed killed in the Mumbai building collapse, with rescuers pulling out more bodies overnight from the rubble in one of the most congested localities in Maharashtra’s capital.

PTI quoted officials as saying the toll could rise as there was possibility of more bodies under the rubble of the building, a 117-year-old five-storey structure which collapsed in the congested Bhendi Bazaar area on Thursday.

They said nine more bodies were pulled out from the debris in the overnight search and rescue operations. The deceased include 24 men and nine women. More than 15 people were injured in the accident.

Six officials of the fire department and one from the NDRF also suffered injuries in the operations.

Though the cause of the collapse was yet to be confirmed, officials believe torrential rain in Mumbai over the past few days – could have weakened the foundations of the building where fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim once lived.

Thirteen tenants, including 12 families, were living in the building at Pakmodia Street. Reports said it also housed a play school but the children had not arrived when the building collapsed.

“Five patients are in critical condition and have been kept under observation in the Intensive Care Unit. They have suffered multiple injuries and fractures. Rest are currently stable,” JJ Hospital’s Dr TP Lahane said.

Nearly 125 fire brigade officials and 90 members of the National Disaster Relief Fund engaged in the rescue operations. Three adjoining buildings were also being evacuated to ensure safety, said BMC officials.

Rescue workers in hard hats clambered up the large mound of concrete rubble and steel rods and hammered at concrete slabs to reach below the debris. Cranes and bulldozers were also deployed as residents helped with bare hands.

According to news agency PTI, at least three people were pulled out alive from the rubble.

The collapse is the third in Mumbai in over the last two months. So far, 33 people have been killed in these collapses.

The building came under the ambitious Bhendi Bazaar redevelopment project that envisages cluster redevelopment of the entire densely populated locality crammed with shops, narrow alleys, and old buildings, spread across 16.5 acres.

“The trust had already shifted seven families in 2013-14. Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) had issued notices declaring the building to be dilapidated along with an offer of transit accommodation to the remaining tenants,” Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT), which has undertaken the redevelopment project worth Rs. 4,000 crore, said in a statement.

Local corporator Rais Shaikh held the development authority responsible for the collapse.

“The authorities should have evacuated the tenants a long time back as this building is unsafe. An inquiry should be instituted under a retired high court judge about this collapse,” Shaikh told HT.

Meanwhile, the city was slowly limping back to normalcy after it was paralysed by heavy downpours for two days.

Train services and public transport were halted and airports shut on Tuesday as roads turned into rivers and floodwaters seeped into many low-lying buildings. In many places, people had to abandon their vehicles and wade through waist-deep water to reach their homes.

Schools, colleges and offices that were shut Wednesday opened Thursday, but attendance was sparse.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Sep 01, 2017 09:12 IST