Four killed, scores trapped as multi-story building collapses in Mumbai

MUMBAI -- A five-story apartment
block collapsed on Friday in the Indian
financial center of Mumbai, killing at
least four people and trapping scores
in the latest accident to underscore
shoddy building standards in Asia's
third-largest economy.
The building collapsed at about 5:45
a.m. local time (8:30 p.m. ET
Thursday) and more than 110 people
were still trapped by early afternoon,
said Ram Barot, an official of the
Municipal Corporation of Greater
Mumbai. The corporation's employees
were housed in the building.
A neighbor in the next block said she
heard a loud cracking sound as the
building caved in.
"As dust settled, I realized BMC
building was gone," the neighbor,
Catherine James, told Reuters.
Rescue workers used six cranes to
remove debris and they pulled dozens
of people from the ruins. The building
was believed to have been about 35
years old and home to about 20
families.
AP
Indian fire officials rescue a girl Fri
from debris of the collapsed buildin
"Five members from my family were
trapped inside. So far, two have been
rescued. I am praying to God others
will also come alive," said Preeti
Pawar, who was standing among
crowds of relatives and onlookers
outside the collapsed block.
The cause of the collapse was not
known.
Mumbai mayor Sunil Prabhu said the
block was not on an official list of
dilapidated buildings.
In April, a building collapse killed 72
people in Thane, just outside Mumbai.
Officials later said the structure had
been built using poor materials and did
not have proper approvals.
A shortage of cheap homes has led to a
rise in illegal construction by
developers who use substandard
materials and shoddy methods and
then offer rock-bottom rents to low-
paid workers.
A sharp rise in property prices in
densely populated Mumbai over the
past five years has put affordable
housing out of reach of tens of
thousands of people, many of them
migrants who move to the city for
work.
"Again and again, the same kind of
tragedies are striking but the
government is not learning anything,"
said Vinod Tawde, a politician from the
main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.
"The government should evacuate all
people staying in dangerous buildings."
Onlookers cheered and clapped as
emergency workers rescued residents.
Others climbed onto walls to get a
better look at the collapsed block,
which is close to docks in southern
Mumbai.