Building Collapses in India; 2 Dead, Several Feared Trapped

MUMBAI, India (AP) -
Rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a collapsed building in Mumbai, India, Tuesday. (Reuters/Prashant Waydande)

A four-story residential building collapsed Tuesday in Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, killing at least two people, an official said. Rescuers were looking for several others feared trapped in the rubble.

Fire official Ashok Talpade said dozens of rescuers were at the site in Dongri, a crowded residential section of Mumbai, where they pulled out three people alive and rushed them to a hospital. They included one child who was allowed to go home after being treated, he said.

The building was located in a narrow lane in a congested area, making it difficult to send earth-moving machines there, Talpade said, adding that police were using sniffer dogs in their rescue operation.

Television images showed people forming a human chain to remove the rubble using their hands.

“The building crashed with a heavy sound and we thought there was an earthquake,” a local resident told the New Delhi Television news channel.

Maharashtra State’s top elected official, Devendra Fadanavis, told reporters that the building was 100 years old and 15 families were living there.

Talpade said the families were asked to vacate the dilapidated building some time ago but they continued to live there.

Waris Pathan, an opposition lawmaker, said the building was a death trap, with authorities saying they had no money to rebuild the structure.

Building collapses are common in India during the June-September monsoon season, when heavy rains weaken the foundations of structures that are poorly constructed. Mumbai was lashed by heavy rains early this month.

On Sunday, a three-story building collapsed in a hilly area in the northern Indian town of Solan following heavy rains, killing 14 people.