Ten persons were killed and nine others injured when a portion of a decrepit, four-storey building collapsed in south Mumbai’s congested Dongri locality on Tuesday morning, once again exposing the creaking infrastructure of the country’s financial capital.
Police suspect that at least three more people are trapped under the rubble as rescue operations continued late into the evening.
Large portions of the top two floors of the nearly four-decade-old Kesarbai building in Dongri’s Tandel Street, Nishanpada, collapsed at around 11.30 a.m. Close to 20 families were said to be living in the residential building owned by the Bai H.R. Allo Paroo Trust.
At least 50 people were feared trapped immediately after the incident. While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had claimed that the building is a cessed structure (governed by MHADA), the latter denied it saying the building is owned by a private trust and leased to individual tenants.
Several people trapped in the rubble were rescued by local people as fire and rescue personnel struggled to reach the residential building in a maze of byzantine lanes and houses clustered closely together. Later traffic police created a green corridor for fire tenders and ambulances.
Eight fire engines, one quick response vehicle, two rescue vans, 18 ambulances, two motorcycle ambulances, around 150 BMC and private labourers reported on the site. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) mobilised 93 jawans and sniffer dogs. Joint search and rescue operations were launched by fire services and NDRF.
Nine persons were rescued from the debris, including a young girl who was trapped under a heavy iron beam. She was rescued after close to two hours. “This was one of the most difficult rescue operations successfully carried out,” said Prabhat Rahangdale, chief fire officer.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, told the media on Tuesday morning, “The residents had, as per MHADA rules, appointed a developer for the building’s redevelopment. They had received permission. Whether the developer developed it on time, will have to be investigated but first we are focusing on rescue operations.”