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India: More than 60 rescued after deadly building collapse

August 25, 2020

Rescue teams carried out search operations all night, racing to reach survivors after a deadly building collapse outside Mumbai. While the cause of the collapse is unclear, charges have been filed against the builder.

Mahad building collapse
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo

Rescue teams pulled out around 60 people from a collapsed five-story apartment building in the town of Mahad in Raigad district, 160 kilometers (99 miles) south of Mumbai, the district administration said on Tuesday.

The building, comprising 47 apartments, collapsed on Monday evening, Maharashtra state police said.

India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) sent rescue crews and canine teams to the site of the accident. 

At least 13 people have been confirmed dead with several more still trapped under the rubble, officials said.

"Initially the top three floors of the building collapsed when some people came out," said Nidhi Choudhari, the District Collector. There were fewer people in the building since Monday was a working day, she said.

India building collapse
Dozens of people were believed to be trapped under the rubbleImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo

Three teams of the NDRF are carrying out rescue operations, said state minister Aditi Tatkare who visited the site on Tuesday morning.

"Those with serious injuries were taken to Mumbai for advanced treatment," she told the Hindustan Times newspaper. "Probe has begun. We want a special investigation team to be constituted," Tatkare added.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet that he was saddened by the building collapse.

Architect to face charges

The district administration has filed charges against the builder, the architect, and the contractor late Monday.

Uddhav Thackery, chief minister of Maharashtra state, where Mahad is located, gave local authorities his assurance of support for speedy rescue and relief work in a statement on Twitter.

The cause of the collapse was not entirely clear. Such incidents are not uncommon in India, particularly during the monsoon season, when rainy conditions make buildings with shoddy construction more vulnerable. Earlier this month, a crane collapse at an Indian shipyard killed at least 11 workers.

More than 1,200 deaths worldwide have been attributed to monsoon-related disasters this year, including 800 in India.

Read more:Mumbai struggles to cope with crumbling infrastructure

Mumbai's dilapidated buildings

sri,adi/rc (dpa, AFP, Reuters)