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Housing block collapses in Mumbai

A multi-storey building has collapsed in India's financial capital, Mumbai, killing at least 3 people. Local residents say dozens could be trapped. Five apartment blocks have collapsed in or near Mumbai this year.

Dozens of Mumbai residents were feared trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building on Friday. The apartment block collapsed at daybreak.

Local officials said at least three people had been killed and 23 rescued but with injuries.

"Approximately 80 to 90 people are believed to be left behind in the building and trapped," said Alok Awasthi, a local response force commander.

Baby rescued

Crowds formed around the rubble of the flattened block, owned by the city's civic administrative body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

A cheer went up from onlookers as rescuers brought out a baby alive through a small tunnel in the rubble late Friday afternoon.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said preliminary information indicated that 22 families had been housed in the block.

At the scene, a rescue official who declined to give his name told the news agency Associated Press there were no confirmed deaths, and that nine people had been pulled out alive.

"My son is inside. I'm waiting for them to get him out," said a distraught retiree, Mithi Solakani, 62, as rescue workers scrambled over tons of debris.

Series of collapses

Five other apartment blocks have collapsed in or close to Mumbai in recent months, including one in April that killed 74 people.

Massive demand for housing around India's fast-growing cities and pervasive corruption are often blamed for poor quality construction.

ipj/hc (AP, AFP)