Friday, September 21, 2018
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Death toll rises in Mumbai building collapse

At least 47 people have now been confirmed dead in a collapsed apartment building in India's financial capital of Mumbai, while rescuers have saved more than two dozens others trapped under the rubble, authorities say.

The five-storey building caved in early on Friday morning near Dockyard Road in Mumbai's southeast, trapping dozens and launching an intense search mission.

Alok Avasthy of the National Disaster Management Authority said dozens of bodies had been pulled from the wreckage of the building, while an equal number of people had been rescued.

"We were given 89 as the number of people in the building so we are now looking for 23 others still missing," Avasthy told the AFP news agency from a control centre set up at the collapse site.

He said a male survivor in his 40s was the latest to be pulled from under the twisted iron bars and chunks of fallen concrete on Saturday afternoon.

"One of his legs was stuck under a slab and he was brought out after [the slab] was removed," Avasthy said.

Rescuers pulled a small girl alive from the flattened remains of the building nearly 12 hours into the search, invigorating the complex mission involving hundreds of workers with crowbars, hammers and heavy machinery.

But as the search continued overnight, more bodies were found.

Local officials said 22 families had been housed in the block owned by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai in the city's eastern suburbs.

"More [bodies] are buried in the rubble" Tanaji Ghadge, Mumbai deputy police commissioner, said.

Distraught relatives stood tearfully watching the rescue efforts, hoping family members would be pulled alive from the mass of concrete.

The disaster was the third deadly building collapse in six months in Mumbai.

At least 72 people died in April in Mumbai when an illegally constructed building fell down, and in June, at least 10 people, including five children, died when a three-storey building collapsed in the city.

Across India, buildings falling down have become relatively common.

Massive demand for housing around India's fast-growing cities combined with pervasive corruption often result in contractors cutting corners by using substandard materials or adding unauthorised floors.

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