A man who stepped out to buy milk had a narrow escape but lost nine members of his family when a four-storey residence came crashing down on an adjoining building, killing at least 11 people, in India’s financial capital Mumbai late on Wednesday.
Eight children were killed in the accident, including a toddler, reported Quint. Eighteen people are reported to have been injured in the incident resulting from torrential rain during the monsoon season, according to media reports.
Among those who lost their loved ones in the collapse was Mohammed Rafiq Siddiqui who lost nine members of his family when the residence complex came crashing down on the adjoining building where he lived.
“I left home at 10.30pm to fetch some milk, but by the time I came home the building had collapsed,” Mr Siddiqui was quoted as saying by Reuters. “People came to help us when the building collapsed, the police came, but they couldn’t do anything,” he said.
Search and rescue operation is underway as authorities suspect that there are more people stuck under the debris.
“It’s an unfortunate incident,” senior police office Dilip Sawant was quoted as saying by ANI. “Eighteen people have been rescued, of whom 11 died. Police will carry out a proper investigation and take further action,” he said.
Following the collapse, residents from three nearby buildings have also been evacuated due to their dilapidated structure, said the local civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Maharashtra minister Aslam Shaikh who reached the site, told the local media that the building came crashing down due to rain.
“Buildings have collapsed due to rain. Rescue operation is underway. Injured people have been shifted to the hospital. Debris of the buildings is being removed to see if more people are stuck under it,” Mr Shaikh said.
Condoling the deaths, Indian president Ram Nath Kovind tweeted: “The loss of lives in a building collapse in Mumbai is tragic indeed. My condolences to the families of those who died. I pray for the recovery of the rescued.”
Wednesday was the first day when the southwest monsoon lashed Mumbai and parts of Maharashtra, with reports of flooding in several low lying areas. Reports of building collapse are not uncommon during this season of heavy downpour and is largely attributed to poor construction and ageing structures.
India’s Meteorological Department has issued a ‘red alert’ for Mumbai and several other districts, with over 1000 people from 20 villages being moved to safer places. Authorities have also deployed fifteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force across Maharashtra, keeping in view the prediction of heavy rains.