Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

60 dead in India building collapse

Indian women cry for missing relatives at the site of a building that collapsed, in Mumbai, India (AP/Rajanish Kakade)

The search for survivors at the site of a collapsed apartment building has ended in India's financial capital of Mumbai with a final death toll of 60 people.

Rescuers saved 33 people from the building's wreckage in the two-day search. By today, all 93 people listed as missing had been accounted for and the search was called off, said Alok Awasthi, local commander of the National Disaster Response Force.

The five-storey building that collapsed on Friday was the third deadly cave-in of a Mumbai structure in six months. The cause is being investigated.

High demand for housing around India's crowded cities combined with lax inspections often result in contractors cutting corners by using sub-standard materials or adding unauthorised floors.

Yesterday emergency workers worked for six hours to free the last survivor, a 50-year-old man who was trapped for more than 30 hours with his leg crushed by part of a wall.

Rescuers lifted up the slab of cement using a special compressed air-pressure bag and the man was rushed to hospital.

"We were able to save him, but he may lose his leg," Mr Awasthi said.

The building, which housed workers for Mumbai's municipal government, was constructed in 1980.

Residents have complained of faulty materials and corruption as the root causes of similar disasters and some neighbours said they even feared about the safety of their own buildings.

"We can't know that tomorrow it won't be our turn," said Anupama Shivalkar, who lives in a nearby apartment block.

Two other buildings have fallen down in Mumbai this year.

In April, at least 72 people died when an illegally-constructed building fell. Two months later, a three-storey structure collapsed, killing at least 10 people, including five children.

AP