Eight bodies pulled out from the under the debris on Monday
Search and rescue teams to continue operations till Tuesday evening
Ten construction workers still feared trapped under the debris
BELLARY: The death toll in the building collapse at Gandhi Nagar in Bellary went up to 20 with rescue teams retrieving eight bodies from under the debris on Monday, seven days after the accident.
Four bodies were retrieved in the morning in the front portion of the collapsed building, after the gigantic CombiCutter equipment was pressed into service to demolish the remains of the collapsed building to remove the dead weight, and pave a path for rescue teams to enter the building and take up search and rescue operations. In the evening, three more bodies, a mother and two children, were removed from under from the debris in the southern part of the ill-fated building.
About ten construction workers are still feared trapped. The National Disaster Rescue Force, the Madras Engineer Group and Centre, Bangalore, the Fire and Emergency Services personnel and experts from JSW Steel Ltd., and the Hutti Gold Mines strove to extricate the bodies from under the debris.
The bodies of the mother and her two children were trapped under the concrete and rescue teams had to cut the beams manually to remove the body. The possibility of those trapped under the debris still being alive is remote.
Deputy Commissioner B. Shivappa, who has been personally supervising the search and rescue operations, told The Hindu that the operations would continue till Tuesday evening.
“As the bodies are trapped under the beams and debris in the ground floor of the building, on which the pillars/beams and the ceilings of three floors have fallen, locating the bodies is a daunting task. Yet, rescue teams have managed to pull out 19 persons alive and retrieve 17 bodies within 40 hours of the incident. “We hope we can remove the other bodies soon”.
Meanwhile, the Madras Engineer Group and Centre, which was pressed into service on January 27, was relieved on Monday. G. Somashekar Reddy, MLA, Mayor K. Basavaraj and councillors of the Bellary City Corporation expressed their gratitude to the team for their efforts.