At least 10 people have been killed and dozens more feared trapped after a residential building collapsed in India.
A search and rescue operation is currently underway after the three-storey building collapsed in the city of Bhiwandi in the Thane district, around 20 miles northeast of India’s largest city of Mumbai.
The collapse reportedly took place at around 3:40 a.m while the residents of the building were asleep.
Several children are among the victims of the building’s collapse, reported The Tribune.
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The Natural Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said at least 20 people have already been rescued from the site. Videos posted from the scene on social media show rescue crews pulling out survivors from the rubble.
NDRF director general Satya Narayan Pradhan tweeted that around 20 to 25 people are still feared to be trapped inside the wreckage. Pradhan said more survivors are likely to be rescued from the building.
“We heard a noise and I noticed that there were cracks on the floor,” resident Sharif Ansari, 35, told Reuters.
“I woke up my neighbors and my wife and we rushed everyone down.”
In a tweet, India’s President Ram Nath Kovind said: “The loss of lives in the building collapse at Bhiwandi, Maharashtra is quite distressing. In this hour of grief, my thoughts and prayers are with the accident victims. I wish speedy recovery of the injured. Local authorities are coordinating rescue and relief efforts.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi added: “Saddened by the building collapse in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying for a quick recovery of those injured. Rescue operations are underway and all possible assistance is being provided to the affected.”
According to The Indian Express, the Bhiwandi Municipal Corporation had previously ordered the residents of the building to vacate the property as it was in a dangerous condition. The building is believed to be at least 40 years old.
It is not clear why the building collapsed, but such incidents are known to occur during India’s monsoon season, which runs from June to September.
In August, at least 16 people were killed after a five-storey building collapsed in Mahad in Maharashtra’s Raigad district. Three people connected to the building have appeared before court following the deaths.
“The builder, RCC consultant, and architect were booked for poor quality of construction and the civic officials for issuing occupancy certificate,” a police official told The Hindu.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.