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Wednesday 15 August 2018

Three killed as building collapses into another near New Delhi

Fire officials said at least 12 workers were in the building at the time.

Rescuers work at the site (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Rescuers work at the site (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

By ASHOK SHARMA

A six-storey building under construction has collapsed on to another near the Indian capital, killing at least three people and trapping several others under the debris, police said.

Chief fire officer Arun Kumar Singh said at least 12 workers were in the building at the time and are feared trapped under rubble, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

The rescuers have found three bodies from the debris, police officer Ajay Pal Sharma said.

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Rescuers work at the site (Altaf Qadri/AP)

The second building also collapsed under the impact of the first building. The four-storey unit was two years old and only one family lived there, district magistrate BN Singh said.

A security guard and some workers on the ground floor may have been inside at the time.

More than 100 rescuers with cranes, sledgehammers and chainsaws worked through the night to remove the debris in Shahberi village, 25 miles east of New Delhi, said Krishan Kumar, a rescue agency official.

Drills were being used to remove metal rods to reach the trapped. A dog squad was at the site smelling for signs of life.

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The building collapsed in Shahberi village, east of New Delhi (Altaf Qadri/AP)

The owner of the building under construction and his two associates have been detained for questioning, Mr Sharma said. The cause of the building collapse is not yet known.

The National Disaster Response Force was helping police in the search and rescue operations, and Ravinder Singh, a NDRF official, said it would take several hours to clear the debris.

Angry residents complained that police and fire services reached the site an hour and a half after the collapse. The rescue effort was slow to begin with, resident Praveen Srivastava told the New Delhi Television news channel.

Another witness said she felt the earth shaking as the buildings came crashing down. “The impact was such that I wondered whether the buildings have been dynamited,” she told the Times Now television news channel.

Rescuers found it difficult to take cranes and drilling machines to the site, where the ground had been dug up in places during construction work and had filled with water from monsoon rains.

Press Association

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