New Delhi, Sep 21 (efe-epa).- At least eight people were killed and several feared trapped under the debris of a multi-floor building that collapsed in a suburb closed to India’s commercial capital of Mumbai when its residents asleep before dawn on Monday, officials said.
“There are eight dead. Nine people have been admitted in a hospital for various injuries. About two dozen were trapped under the debris some time ago,” an official at the district collector’s office told EFE.
The four-floor building on the outskirts of Mumbai was about a 30-year-old structure in Bhiwandi, a city in the Thane district of Maharashtra.
Rescue teams were quickly dispatched to the area and television footage showed canines being used by the National Disaster Response Force to search for people trapped under the debris.
National Disaster Response Force chief Satya Pradhan said that a 7-year-old boy was among the rescued.
He expressed the hope that there would be “more live victims likely” as the rescue operations continue.
In a series of tweets, Pradhan posted pictures and videos of the rescue operation with NDRF personnel taking people out of the heap of concrete.
Building collapses are commonplace in India, particularly during the seasonal monsoon rains, due to old and often illegal construction. There was no immediate reason provided for the latest incident in Bhiwandi.
TV channels quoted residents in the neighborhood saying said the building was dilapidated and that they had conveyed their fears of its imminent collapse to the authorities.
Building collapses and fires are common in India owing to the often precarious condition of infrastructure and a lack of maintenance, factors that are aggravated by corruption and illegal practices within the construction sector.
Monsoon season only serves to heighten the possibility of collapses, with a prolonged period of intense rain affecting building structures.
Last year, 13 people died when a building collapsed during the monsoon season in July in Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra, and considered India’s financial capital.
The same month, a building collapse due to incessant rain in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh claimed 12 lives and injured 30 others.
And a few days before that, torrential rain in Maharashtra caused the deaths of at least 23 people, 14 of them brought about by the collapse of a wall in a shanty area. EFE-EPA