AFP, IANS /Bengaluru
At least two people have died and dozens are feared trapped under rubble after a building site collapsed yesterday in Karnataka, officials said.
Rescue teams and ambulances were scrambling to Dharwad district, roughly 700km northwest of the state capital Bengaluru, where the five-floor under-construction building crumbled.
A thick blanket of dust and debris engulfed the area after the building collapsed.
Desperate family members rushed to the spot searching for loved ones trapped in the rubble.
“Two people have been killed in the collapse. We have pressed in men and machines to rescue those trapped,” Srikant, the district’s regional fire and emergency officer, said.
Nagesh D L, the district’s deputy commissioner of police, said 27 people had been recovered from the rubble and taken to hospital. Rescue operations were expected to continue throughout the night.
“We think there are still many people alive (underneath). The police still don’t have a clear idea...some locals say it is around 15, and some others have said it is over 50,” he said.
Another regional emergency official said as many as 152 people were believed trapped beneath the rubble.
While locals joined in to help with the rescue efforts, police said that the National Disaster Response Force team has also been drafted in.
Hospitals in the district have been placed on alert and 20 ambulances sent to the accident site, said Dharwad’s top medical officer Giridhar Kokinad.
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said he had asked officials to send expert rescuers to Dharwad by a special flight.
“I have instructed the officials concerned to be on location.”
State unit Congress leader Vinay Kulkarni’s relative was one of the owners of the building.
Building collapses are frequent in India, with a string of accidents reported in recent years. Critics say many private builders use inferior construction material to cut corners on costs or bribe officials to bypass regulations. Last September five people were killed after an apartment block collapsed in Delhi.
Just months earlier a six-storey building collapsed on the outskirts of the capital, killing nine.
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