An early morning building collapse in Mumbai left several injured and possibly dozens more trapped under the rubble of a five-story building Friday. Reports of the death toll varied, with some sources reporting as many as nine people killed in the incident. That number is likely to rise, as dozens of people are still believed to be trapped underneath portions of the building. “We don’t know how many people will come out of the rubble yet. The rescue operation is going on in full force,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Tanaji Ghodge.
The bottom floor of the building was reportedly occupied by a design firm, but the top four floors were used as apartment rentals. A spokesman for the municipality said that the building was about 30 years old and that occupants had received a notice in April asking them to vacate. The Mayor of Mumbai, Sunil Prabhu, said that the building was undergoing repairs.
Rescuers had pulled scores of people from the wreckage by Friday evening in India. Emergency crews and onlookers got some good news when a baby girl was found alive in the rubble 11 hours after the collapse.
Friday's disaster is one of several building collapses this year in the country, and the third deadly building collapse in the financial capital in just six months. Building standards in Mumbai often allow for weak, hand-mixed concrete to be used in large structures. Widespread corruption contributes to faulty inspections and quick construction. Problems with structures often appear after the rainy season, which can cause a weakening of substandard building materials.
Last April, a building that was built illegally collapsed, killing 72 people. About two months later, the collapse of a three story structure killed 10 people, including children.