Dozens trapped in Mumbai building collapse

Rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a collapsed building in Mumbai, India, July 16, 2019.Image copyright

Image caption

Rescuers are searching debris to find those trapped inside the building in Dongri

At least four people have been killed and more than 30 are trapped after a four-storey building collapsed in the Indian city of Mumbai, officials say.

The cause of the collapse in the Dongri area of southern Mumbai is not clear.

Reports say the building was up to 100 years old. Recent monsoon flooding may also have been a factor.

It’s estimated disasters such as this kill about 2,000 people a year in India. Poor construction standards and dilapidated buildings are often blamed.

Rescue teams from the fire department and the national disaster response force are looking for those trapped by debris, officials told the BBC’s Marathi language service.

Local news reports show images of people forming a human chain to remove debris with their bare hands. It’s reported that at least five people, including a child, have been rescued.

“We heard a loud noise. Everybody shouted, ‘building is falling, building is falling’. I ran. It felt like a big earthquake,” a witness to the collapse told the NDTV news channel.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered his condolences to the families of the dead.

Dozens of buildings have collapsed in Mumbai and other parts of India in recent years, often during the monsoon season between June and September.

Rescuers navigate tiny laneways

Mayuresh Konnur, BBC Marathi in Mumbai

The roads leading to Tandel street, where the Kesarbai building stood, are buzzing with sirens from ambulances and fire trucks.

Police have barricaded much of the way, allowing only rescuers and hospital staff to pass through. It’s a crowded neighbourhood that is full of tiny lanes. Tandel street itself is so narrow that only one person can walk through it comfortably at a time.

So, locals have formed a human chain that stretches through the narrow lane and into the wider main street to pass through any materials necessary for the rescue. Ambulances and fire trucks have been forced to park some distance away as the lane is too narrow for them to enter. The monsoon rains, which have brought Mumbai to a standstill in recent weeks, have fortunately let up.

Cries of fear and concerned voices can be heard all around as people await news of their friends or relatives. Local residents are watching the rescue from their balconies; they appear both worried about their neighbours and scared for themselves.

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Media captionOfficials estimate around 2,000 people in India die each year when buildings collapse

In August 2017, three different buildings collapsed in Mumbai.

The city witnessed one of its worst accidents in 2013 when a building still under construction collapsed in the Thane neighbourhood, killing more than 70 people.

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