Wednesday 25 April 2018

Relatives' vigil after building collapses and kills 33 people

Relatives have kept up a vigil at the site of a collapsed apartment building that killed at least 33 people in India's financial capital of Mumbai.

Family members were waiting for news of the last of five family members who were in the building. Three - a nephew and two of his children - had already been found dead. The nephew's wife was rescued, but the couple's young daughter was still unaccounted for on Saturday morning.

Rescuers have pulled 32 people out of the rubble alive since the cave-in, but as the search operation entered its second day, most of the wreckage had been cleared and workers knew of only one person still alive under the piles of cement and bricks that remained, said Alok Awasthi, local commander of the National Disaster Response Force.

The five-story building, which housed workers for the Mumbai municipal government, caved in on Friday morning near Dockyard Road in the city's south east, trapping dozens of people and launching an intense search mission.

On Friday evening, rescuers pulled a small girl alive from the flattened remains of the building nearly 12 hours into the search.

But as the search continued overnight, more bodies were found. Awasthi said the death toll had climbed to 33 by Saturday afternoon. Still, he vowed the rescuers would continue, adding that about 30 of the more than 80 people said to have been in the building were still missing.

"We are going very slowly. We are not in a hurry," Awasthi said.

The building was constructed in 1980, Awasthi said, adding that what caused it to fall down would be determined by an investigation.

Two other buildings have fallen down in Mumbai this year.

At least 72 people died in April when an illegally constructed building fell down, and in June, at least 10 people, including five children, died when a three-story structure collapsed in the city.

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