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Building collapse kills 22; others may be trapped

Thu., July 19, 2007

MUMBAI, India – At least 22 people were killed and nine others injured when a seven-story building collapsed in Mumbai, officials said today as rescue workers continued to dig through the rubble for survivors.

At least 10 others were feared trapped in the rubble of the residential building in Mumbai’s Borivali neighborhood, said Gopal Shetty, a state lawmaker. The building collapsed late Wednesday.

Rescue workers toiled through the night, often pulling aside chunks of masonry with their bare hands, in an attempt to find survivors.

“The priority is to rescue people who may be trapped inside,” Shetty said.

By this morning, cranes were brought in to lift slabs of concrete and workers began removing bodies from the rubble.

Four people, including two women, were rescued from under mounds of concrete, twisted metal bars and mud by rescuers who carried the survivors to the nearby Bhagwati hospital on makeshift stretchers.

The building housed several stores and a clinic in addition to residences.

It was not immediately clear what caused the collapse. Shetty said poor quality cement may have been used in the construction of the 20-year-old building.

However, J. Phatak, a senior city official, said residents reported extensive renovations to the building by a jewelry store on the ground floor of the building.

Mumbai authorities routinely demolish shoddy buildings ahead of the monsoon rains, but this building was not listed as dangerous, Phatak said.


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