Mumbai building collapse: After 30 hours, rescue ops at Ghatkopar end, probe begins

Rescue workers said they ended operations at 5.30pm on Wednesday after all residents were accounted for

mumbai Updated: Jul 27, 2017 01:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai building collapse,Ghatkopar building,mumbai building
(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

Thirty hours and endless moments of hope and despair later, rescue operations at Ghatkopar’s Siddhi Sai housing society ended on Wednesday. The toll rose to 17, 14 were injured and were being treated at hopsitals and 139 truckloads of debris was cleared from the site that was once home to at least 12 families.

Rescue workers said they ended operations at 5.30pm on Wednesday after all residents were accounted for. But the hours before that were harrowing for the 90 fire brigade personnel, 300 rescue workers, 50 NDRF men and their sniffer dogs, who combed through the rubble of the five-storey structure looking for people.

At 10.45am on Tuesday, the building caved in with women, senior citizens and infants. The dead included two infants — a three-month-old and 1-year-old — and four senior citizens. The rescue ops began around 11.23am. The fire brigade called it a level 4 emergency and deployed 14 fire engines, two rescue vans and ambulances to the spot.

As rescue operations continued, the scale of the tragedy came to light — by 3pm, 12 people were removed from the debris, four of whom were declared dead; 12 hours after the building collapsed, the toll had risen to 12. As people were found, they were rushed to the nearby Shantiniketan hospital or the Rajawadi hospital.

But the survivors and families of those still missing held on to hope, as neighbours and residents of the nearby societies helped search for people, served tea and biscuits and comforted the families. For one family, the prayers paid off. After 16 hours of being trapped under the rubble, the fire brigade pulled out Rajesh Doshi, a 57-year-old businessman. Doshi luckily had his phone with him when the building came crashing down and he used it to help the rescuers find him.

READ: ‘Sena man arrested for Ghatkopar building collapse named in 6 illegal construction cases in Mumbai’

The rescue operations continued through the night, and by 7.30am, 17 people were declared dead. By 5.30pm on Wednesday, rescue operations ended.

So far, seven of the injured have been discharged from the Rajawadi and Shantiniketan hospitals.

People worked round-the-clock not just on the site. Doctors at Rajawadi’s post mortem centre worked overnight to complete forensic analysis of the 17 bodies and send them back to the families within hours.

Dr Shivaji Kachre from the Nagpada Police Hospital that heads the five post mortem centres, said they sent four doctors and additional staff to the centre.

“We completed all documentation and handed over the bodies to avoid further inconvenience to the families,” Dr Kachare said.

After residents pointed out that renovation on the ground floor of the building could have weakened it, the police on Tuesday filed an FIR naming Shiv Sena leader Sunil Shitap, who owned three flats on the ground floor. He has been arrested.

On Wednesday, CM Devendra Fadnavis told the Maharashtra assembly that prima facie, it looked like the renovation work was responsible for the collapse and announced that a senior IAS officer will head the committee formed by the Brihanmumbai Muncipal Corporation (BMC) to probe the incident

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First Published: Jul 27, 2017 01:36 IST