Mumbai building crash toll climbs to 16, many still trapped (Fourth Lead)

At least 16 persons were killed and another 30 injured after a 117-year-old residential six-storeyed building collapsed near the J.J. Hospital here on Thursday, an official said.

Another dozen plus people were still feared trapped under the debris as war-like efforts continued to save them, the official said, adding the death toll may increase.

Thirty persons were rescued from the rubble within three hours of the incident.

Huseini Building, a structure on Maulana Shaukat Ali Road which was declared “dangerous” six years ago, crashed suddenly at 8.25 a.m.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the site and expressed grief over the loss of lives.

Fadnavis ordered a probe into the disaster by the Additional Chief Secretary. Guardian Minister Subhash Desai asked Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta to submit a detailed report on the circumstances leading to the crash.

According to the BMC Disaster Control official, the injured, including four firemen, were rushed to a hospital.

A woman said the building also housed a nursery-cum-playgroup with around two dozen children. It was scheduled to open at 10 a.m., two hours after the building collapsed.

A BMC bulletin said the structure included an uninhabited godown on the ground floor and 10 tenements on the remaining upper floors.

It added that the building was part of a Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) redevelopment project and declared unsafe for living at least six years ago.

“The dangerous building was served evacuation notice in 2011 and the occupants ordered to vacate to make way for the redevelopment project, but they failed to heed the warnings,” said a BMC official.

According to the Fire Brigade, the building’s two wings have completely collapsed.

A 90-strong team of NDRF, state disaster management, a 150-strong team of fire brigade personnel, dog squads, electronic gadgetry along with five fire engines and other machines were deployed to trace the people buried under the rubble.

The building is situated in a heavily congested locality of south Mumbai’s C Ward. The rescue teams and their large vehicles faced a tough time approaching the crash site.

In the meantime, local residents, mainly Dawoodi Bohra community members, initiated their own rescue efforts, moving the rubble with their hands to help the victims.

This is the first major building collapse after Tuesday’s deluge in Mumbai and the second in five days after the Chandivali Crystal Business Park crash of August 26 claimed six lives.

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