Tragedy befell a family when two migrant construction labourers — both related — died under mounds of earth on their first day of work when a 10-foot wall collapsed on them in Dharma Somashekar Layout in Kengeri in the city on Tuesday afternoon.

Rajakka (40) and her sister-in-law Mangamma (20), both from Raidurg in Anantapur district, were clearing mounds from a construction site when the compound wall of an adjoining site collapsed on them.

The two were working alongside their husbands, both brothers, at the site where an apartment complex is coming up. Rajakka’s husband Marappa (50) and Mangamma’s husband Basavaraju (28), who were also engaged in the work, managed to escape just in time.

The women were using spades to clear the mounds of earth had been dug up by their husbands. “We were standing about two or three feet above them and when the wall suddenly gave way. Both were buried in the debris,” said Marappa dully.

The husbands, joined by their colleagues, rushed to pull them out of the debris and shifted them to a hospital nearby. But it was too late. Manjunath, who pulled out Mangamma, told The Hindu: “The women had sustained serious head injuries. Mangamma was also injured on her waist and her left leg.”

The labourers suspect the recent rain had loosened the soil, leading to the wall collapse.

The Kengeri police arrested building owner Balaji and contractor Bhaskar. The contract had been given to Sri Sai Venkateshwara Constructions, police added.

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