Four dead and more than 30 feared trapped in Mumbai building collapse
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At least four people have been killed and more than 30 are feared trapped in the rubble of a four-storey residential building which has collapsed in Mumbai.
A search is under way to try to save those caught up in the incident which happened in the crowded Dongri neighbourhood at around 11.40am.
The rescue operation involving sniffer dogs in India’s financial capital is being hampered by the location of the 100-year-old building, which is in an area south of the city with narrow streets.
The fire service said four people were confirmed to have died and more than 30 others could be trapped.
Three large teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are at the site, looking for survivors.
At least seven people are believed to have been rescued.
Ten ambulances and fire engines were deployed but had to park some distance away as the streets were too narrow for them to enter, according to reports.
Machines that can move earth were also too large to get through the alleyways.
Crowds instead formed a human chain to help remove small debris like bricks and wooden blocks from the scene using their bare hands.
A teenager who said he saw the collapse told NDTV: “We heard a loud noise. Everybody shouted, ‘building is falling, building is falling’. I ran. It felt like a big earthquake.”
Another witness said: “I saw bodies… There were some seven, eight families in the building.”
Maharashtra state’s top elected official, Devendra Fadanavis, told reporters that 15 families were living there.
Fire official Ashok Talpade said the families were asked to leave the dilapidated building some time ago but they continued to stay there.
Authorities have described it as a “level 2” incident. Level 1 is the most serious under a system which measures the severity of a building collapse.
Chief fire officer P S Rahangdale said: “There are people trapped under the debris. Search and rescue operations are in progress.
“Adjacent buildings are in a very dangerous condition and are vacated.”
It is the second such collapse in the city in less than 10 days.
The area, full of dilapidated buildings, was flooded during recent heavy rainfall.
Torrential rains in the June-September monsoon season can make older or badly constructed structures unstable by weakening their foundations.
This has led to multiple building collapses over the years.
According to NDTV, in May this year officials identified 499 buildings as “dangerous”. The figure was 619 last year.