Mumbai building collapse: At least 11 dead after three-storey block collapses

Building was declared unsafe by authorities

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The Independent Online

As many as 11 people have reportedly died after a building collapsed in Mumbai, India, following heavy rains.

The three-storey dilapidated building in Thane in Western India had been declared dangerous by authorities and although some residents had left, many more remained.

Witnesses claimed that the entire building, which had sixteen flats and housed five families, collapsed “in five seconds” at around 2.30am last night as residents slept.

"Around 2am, I heard a loud noise. I saw whole building collapsed in five seconds. Fire engines rushed to the spot in next 15 minutes," security guard Rajan Khatri, who works next door, told the Hindustan Times.

Personnel from India’s Fire Brigade and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were on the scene from 4am. They reportedly pulled four people from the wreckage on arrival.

"Eleven bodies have been recovered and seven people pulled out alive. Another one person is missing," Alok Avasthy, a rescue offical with knowledge of the scene, told the AFP news agency.

Mixed reports indicate that a search effort for survivors is still underway but that the official NDRF effort was over by 10.30am on Tuesday morning. Nine people have been rescued from the rubble so far.

Constructed in 1965, the building has been reported as part of the 'Pagdi' system, whereby owners and tennants pay 50 per cent of maintainence costs.

More than 100 people have died in building collapses in Mumbai, which has more than 14,000 buildings over than 70 years old, in the past two years. Mumbai has experienced a number of similar incidents as property prices are among the highest in Asia, forcing low-paid workers to live in poorly constructed and maintained buildings.

An estimated 60 per cent of the city of 18 million lives in slums and shantytowns, the BBC reported.

Additional reporting by Associated Press