Mumbai, September 27, 2013, DHNS:
Thirteen people including a girl-child were crushed to death and 29 sustained grievous injuries when a four-storey building housing civic employees in south Mumbai came crashing down on a rain soaked Friday.
Fire brigade officials who where engaged in clearing the debris of the 32-year-old building located along Dockyard Road, in the old Mazagon locality, fear the possibility of people trapped underneath as there were 21 families staying in the building and several families are still missing.
Apart from the injured who have been admitted to various hospitals, 20 people escaped unhurt.
Rescue operations were launched immediately at around 6 am when the first distress call was relayed to the fire brigade. Search lights and ambulances underneath heavy rain and dark skies were put into action along with dozen JCBs, cranes, mechanical diggers and bulldozers.
Apart from the Mumbai fire brigade, teams from Thane fire brigade, National Disaster Response Force were also summoned.
A team of over 100 rescuers from various agencies were still cutting through slabs late in the evening. Traffic on the congested Dockyard Road was diverted to ease the flow of emergency vehicles.
The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in an official communique stated that the structure housed 28 rooms on four floors of which 21 were occupied by civic employees and their families. Labourers who were carrying out repairs in the building were housed in a godown on the ground floor.
Civic engineers, during the audit of the building, had classified the structure as “extremely dilapidated” and orders were issued to vacate the building for restructuring. However, there was a delay in shifting the occupants.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, along with Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, summoned an emergency meeting of the concerned departments and ordered “top priority” to the rescue operations.