India: Survivor Found Day After Tower Collapse

Rescuers have pulled out alive an injured woman from the wreckage of a Mumbai tower block - 36 hours after it collapsed leaving as many as 72 dead and 70 injured.

The 65-year-old was dragged from the building on Saturday morning after rescue workers heard her voice and used camera equipment to pinpoint her location under the rubble. She is said to be in a stable condition in hospital.

It came as the search for further survivors was called off after more than 40 hours and the rescue of 126 people in total.

A 10-month old infant was pulled from the debris on Friday.

Dozens are still missing, while some 36 of the injured remain in hospital.

Most of the dead and missing are migrant construction workers who were living on the site in Thane, on the outskirts of the city, with their families.

At least 17 of those killed are children.

The building collapsed "like a pack of cards within three to four seconds," one witness said on Thursday night.

As rescue teams combed the rubble for survivors immediately after the collapse, two young children were plucked out alive to cries of "God is great".

Rescue workers with sledgehammers, gasoline-powered saws and hydraulic jacks struggled to break through the tower of rubble in their search for possible survivors. Six bulldozers were brought to the scene.

An investigation has now been launched into what has been described as one of the worst incidents of its kind in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

The collapse is being blamed on shoddy construction and unstable foundations.

The building was only supposed to be four storeys high but three extra levels had been illegally constructed on top and an eighth was being added when it collapsed, said police.

Police said they have arrested the builder and his associates. They face a number of charges including manslaughter.

A local resident who gave his name as Ramlal said: "The building collapsed like a pack of cards within three to four seconds.

"Only labourers used to stay there. No rich person or well-to-do family stayed here. Only poor people stayed here."

The neighbourhood where the building collapsed was part of a belt of more than 2,000 illegal structures that had sprung up in the area in recent years, said Malvi, the town spokesman.

"Notices have been served several times for such illegal construction, sometimes notices are sent 10 times for the same building," he said.

GR Khairnar, a former top Mumbai official, said government officials who allowed the illegal construction should be tried along with the builders.

"There are a lot of people involved (in illegal construction) - builders, government machinery, police, municipal corporation - everybody is involved in this process," he told CNN-IBN television.

As the economy has grown, so has the appetite for property and the quick profit that comes from unauthorised construction.

In one of the worst collapses, nearly 70 people were killed when an apartment building in a congested New Delhi neighbourhood crumbled in November 2010.

That building was two floors higher than legally allowed and its foundations appeared to have been weakened by water damage.