At least two people are reportedly dead and as many as 18 are feared trapped under the rubble after a five-storied building collapsed in Maharashtra’s Raigad district on Monday evening.
Over 60 people have so far been rescued as search operations have been going on for more than 12 hours.
A man died of cardiac arrest on Monday night after he was hit by a stone from the falling building. The man, according to Raigad District Superintendent of Police Anil Paraskar, was not a resident of the building, but was walking nearby when it collapsed and was hit by a stone from the falling debris.
An official at the Mantralaya State Control Room of the State Disaster Management Unit said the Tarek Garden building collapsed at Kajalpura in Mahad tehsil around 7 pm.
Those rescued were shifted to a local hospital at Mahad, which is around 170 km from Mumbai. Those with serious injuries were taken to Mumbai for advanced treatment.
Three teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 12 teams of the fire brigade are at the spot carrying out search and rescue operations. Canine squads have also been deployed at the scene of the collapse.
According to officials, the building, which had around 45 flats, suddenly came crashing down trapping at least 70 persons under the debris.
The building, said to be around 6 years old, was constructed by two Mumbai-based realtors.
Guardian Minister of Raigad, Aditi Tatkare said the building had more than 200 occupants, but many residents may have been outdoors or in markets in the evening.
Tatkare further informed that a probe has been initiated into the incident and also demanded constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the matter.
In Mumbai, Leader of Opposition (Council) Pravin Darekar, urged the Maharashtra government to carry out an audit of all old or dilapidated structures to avoid such tragedies.
Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis expressed shock over the tragedy and prayed for the safety of the people.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on today morning expressed his anguish over the building collapse in Raigad and offered condolences to the families of the deceased.
Saddened by the building collapse in Mahad, Raigad in Maharashtra. My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their dear ones. I pray the injured recover soon. Local authorities and NDRF teams are at the site of the tragedy, providing all possible assistance: PM
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 25, 2020
President Ram Nath Kovind also expressed his grief and termed the news of the building collapse at Mahad, Raigad in Maharashtra and loss of lives as “distressing”.
The news of the building collapse at Mahad, Raigad in Maharashtra and loss of lives is distressing. My thoughts and prayers are with the accident victims. I wish speedy recovery of the injured. Local authorities and NDRF teams are coordinating rescue and relief efforts.
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 25, 2020
Terming the incident as “very tragic”, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that he had spoken to the Director-General of NDRF to provide all assistance.
“The collapse of a building in Raigad, Maharashtra is very tragic. Have spoken to DG-NDRF HQ to provide all possible assistance, teams are on the way and will be assisting with the rescue operations as soon as possible. Praying for everyone’s safety,” Shah tweeted.
The collapse of a building in Raigad, Maharashtra is very tragic. Have spoken to DG @NDRFHQ to provide all possible assistance, teams are on the way and will be assisting with the rescue operations as soon as possible. Praying for everyone’s safety.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) August 24, 2020
Meanwhile rescue operations remain in full swing with JCBs and cranes working under floodlights even as intermittent rains hampered the work.