Seven construction workers, all believed to be from West Bengal, were buried under soil as land caved in at a construction site at Electronics City in Kalamassery, north of Kochi City, on Friday afternoon.
While six of them have been pulled out so far, their condition is as yet unknown. One is suspected to have died.
Rescue work by Fire and Rescue Services along with the civil defence force, police and disaster management authority, is in full swing.
The tragedy struck around 2.30 p.m. when a pit was being dug up reportedly for a concrete column. Reportedly, an earth mover and workers were simultaneously at work at that time.
“The soil came loose on using the earth mover and it heaped on the workers. They were working almost at a depth of 25 feet. Had they known how tough the work was, many of them would have left,” said Abid Bishwas, one of the workers at the site. While three were pulled out immediately by the workers themselves and the driver of earth mover, the rest were pulled out in the rescue operation that kicked in shortly.
“He is gone, dead,” said Jalaludheen, devastated after his cousin from Kolkata was trapped in the pile of soil.
Amir Ali was inconsolable after his brother Nodiz Ali got buried right in front of his eyes. The brothers had come to the worksite just a fortnight ago.
“They should have put in place some safety measures for such a dangerous job,” said Kabir who came running to the site upon hearing the cry for help and helped in the rescue of one person.
Vrinda Devi, deputy collector, district disaster management, said that the priority right now was on rescue and the rest could wait.