Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Rescuers pull a girl from the rubble of a collapsed building in Mumbai on Friday. AP Photo
Rescuers pull a girl from the rubble of a collapsed building in Mumbai on Friday. AP Photo

Rescuers save child from Mumbai building collapse that killed eight

A cheer erupted from hundreds of onlookers who began chanting “baby, baby” when rescuers working in a drizzling rain plucked the young girl out of a tunnel dug through the rubble.

MUMBAI // Rescuers pulled a small girl alive from a collapsed apartment building in India’s financial capital nearly 12 hours after the structure caved in on Friday, killing at least eight people and leaving dozens trapped under the rubble.

A cheer erupted from hundreds of onlookers who began chanting “baby, baby” when rescuers working in a drizzling rain plucked the young girl out of a tunnel dug through the rubble. At least 32 people were rescued, but more than 30 others were still missing and the search continued, said Alok Awasthi, a director of the National Disaster Response Force.

Friday’s disaster was the third deadly building collapse in six months in Mumbai, in a country where shoddy construction and lax inspections make such disasters all too common.

Relatives of the missing wailed and clung to one another, as heavy machinery lifted the largest slabs of concrete away. Dozens of workers hacked away with crowbars at the flattened remains of what was once a five-story building. “My heart is thumping with fear. I’m just hoping,” said Shanta Makwana, whose daughter and grandchildren were trapped.

Twenty-two families lived in the destroyed block, said the politician Bhai Jagtap.

“The rest of the people are down below, calling people from inside. Rescuers are doing their level best to save lives,” he said.

Eight people were confirmed dead by late afternoon, Mr Awasthi said.

“We will work all night. We’ll work 24/7 without stopping until everyone is found,” he said, adding that additional rescue teams from the nearby city of Pune had been called in to assist.

The building collapsed just after 6am near Dockyard Road in Mumbai’s south-east.

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, city’s civic administrative body, said that the building was for employees of the local administration and their families, who had been asked to leave this year.

“The building was around 30 years old. We had issued a notice to them in April, to vacate the building, but they did not act,” said Vijay Khabale-Patil, the body’s spokesman.

He did not explain why the families had been asked to leave.

“My uncle and aunt have been staying here for years. I rushed here after hearing the news on TV. But the police are not telling us anything. We are just waiting,” said receptionist Neha Jagdale.

Mumbai has already seen two similar disasters 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 building collapsed.

Across India, buildings falling down have become relatively common. Massive demand for housing around India’s fast-growing cities combined with pervasive corruption often result in contractors cutting corners by using substandard materials or adding unauthorised floors.

The high cost of property in Mumbai and surrounding areas pushes many low-paid families, especially newly arrived migrants from other parts of India, into often illegal and shoddily-built homes.

More than half of the city’s residents live in slums, while across India the urban housing shortage was estimated at nearly 19 million households in 2012.

Falling buildings are a nationwide problem. The Guardian newspaper website gathered crime statistics showing that 2,651 people were killed across India in 2012 from the collapse of 2,737 structures, including houses and bridges.

* Associated Press with additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 A view of a defaced portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during an anti-North Korean rally on the 102nd birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung in central Seoul. Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

Best photography from around the world, April 15

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National