India: Building collapse kills 19, rescuers dig for survivors

World Today

Rescuers search for workers believed buried in the rubble of a building that collapsed on the outskirts of Chennai, India, Sunday, June 29, 2014. Police said dozens of workers have been pulled out so far and the search is continuing. (AP Photo/Arun Sankar K)

More than 100 rescuers carefully dug for survivors under a collapsed 11-story building in southern India on Monday. Hopes were buoyed after six people were found alive two days after the tragedy. The collapse Saturday killed at least 19 people.

It left an enormous pile of broken slabs, twisted iron girders and concrete dust where the apartment building, still under construction, had stood in a suburb of Chennai, the south-coast capital of Tamil Nadu state.

Nearly 90 contract workers, most from neighboring Andhra Pradesh state, were believed to have been in the basement collecting wages.

Rescuers have pulled at least 41 people from the wreckage, even as seasonal monsoon rains impeded the search. Police said 30 other people are likely still trapped.

“Building collapse in Delhi brings forth need to adhere to safety requirements,” tweeted Vijay Goel, a lawmaker from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party that controls the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Numerous building accidents in India’s large cities have killed about 100 people in the past year, according to local media reports. More than 50 people were killed when an apartment block collapsed in Mumbai last September.Deputy Commissioner of Police Madhur Verma told reporters an investigation into the cause of Saturday’s building collapse in New Delhi had been launched.

Former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal called the incident a “nexus between the builder mafia and the municipal corporation”. The corporation did not a answer phone call requesting comment. Later on Saturday, an 11-storey building under construction in southern Tamil Nadu state came down, killing one worker, said K. Shanmugasundaram, a spokesman for the state police.

“Some 10 workers are in hospital and one of them is in the intensive care unit,” he said. “Many more are still feared trapped.”

Report compiled with information from Reuters and The Associated Press.