At least 47 people have been killed and about 70 others injured when a partly constructed apartment block collapsed on the outskirts of India’s financial capital, officials say.
The eight-story illegal building in the Mumbai suburb of Thane collapsed into a mangled heap of steel and concrete on Thursday evening, local police commissioner K.P. Raghuvanshi said on Friday.
On Friday evening, rescue workers were struggling to break through an eight-meter high mound of rubble in their search for possible survivors. They were using sledgehammers, gasoline-powered saws, hydraulic jacks, and bulldozers in the rescue operation.
“There may be (a) possibility people have been trapped inside right now,” Raghuvanshi said.
Sandeep Malvi, a spokesman for the Thane government, said there were between 100 to 150 people, residents or construction workers, in the building when it collapsed.
R.S. Rajesh, an official with the National Disaster Response Force, said that on Friday afternoon over 20 people remained missing and three floors remained unsearched.
“All the three floors are sandwiched… so it’s very difficult for us,” he said.
According to police, 17 children also died in the incident.
Raghuvanshi said the weakness of the structure had probably caused its collapse, adding that police were searching for the builders to detain them.
“The inquiry is ongoing. We are all busy with the rescue operation; our priority now is to rescue as many as possible,” he stated.
Raghuvanshi said rescue workers had so far saved 15 people.