Death toll in the under-construction building collapse located at the Thane suburb of Mumbai, India, has touched 71 as of Apr.6. Rescue workers fear many more are trapped under the 20-feet huge pile of debris.
The seven-story building that was under-construction illegally in the Shil Phata area of the Thane district collapsed at about 6.30 p.m. local time, Thursday. Most of the deceased were construction workers who were staying in the building.
Rescue workers fear the death toll could climb as some victims are still trapped under the heap of steel and concrete debris.
Police said it was not immediately clear what caused the structure to collapse, but they added that the building was constructed in two months using sub-standard materials, leading Indian television channel NDTV reported.
"The building [that has collapsed] was an unauthorized construction. We are going to investigate thoroughly into this and prepare a report," Sandeep Malwi, spokesman for the Thane municipal corporation said.
Police have filed homicide charges against the builders, Jamil Qureshi and Salim Shaikh. Police have arrested one of the builders, while the other has evaded arrest.
Also, three officials have been suspended for not heeding complaints regarding the unauthorised structure, Zee News reported.
The first four floors of the building housed some offices, and workers were adding three more floors to the building, which was allegedly constructed on forest land illegally. Police said the builders had not received clearance for construction from authorities and went ahead with building the structure illegally.
The death toll probably would have been higher had the building collapsed during office hours. According to civic officials, about 35 families were living in the structure.
Police authorities said the deceased included 12 men, eight women and 11 children, and many of the victims remain unidentified.
The injured were admitted to various hospitals in Thane, and some were shifted to Mumbai’s JJ and Sion Hospitals for advanced treatment.