Mumbai building crash toll climbs to six

Mumbai, Sep 27 (IANS) Six persons, including a minor girl, were killed and 15 injured when a four-storey building collapsed in south Mumbai Friday morning, officials said.

At least 35 people are feared trapped under the debris and rescue agencies have launched a full-scale operation to save them, a BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Disaster Control unit officer said.

Situated near the Dockyard Road in south Mumbai, the building houses civic employees' staff quarters and is around 33 years old, an official of Chief Minister's Office said.

The building housed 21 families, most of whom were civic employees. It collapsed around 5.45 a.m, catching a majority of residents in their sleep, the official said.

A few years ago, it was declared extremely dilapidated, was examined by a team from BMC, and recommended for urgent repairs and shifting the families living there.

"There were 28 rooms on the four floors, of which 22 were occupied by civic employees and their families, besides a godown on the ground floor where several labourers were living. The delay in shifting out the residents to transit camps and carrying out repairs has led to the avoidable tragedy," Suresh Jadhav, a former municipal corporator from the area, said.

Mumbai Mayor Suresh Prabhu, who supervised the relief operations with BMC and fire brigade officials, said priority is to rescue those trapped under the debris and efforts were continuing on a war-footing.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan summoned an emergency meeting of concerned departments and ordered top priority to rescue and relief operations besides proper treatment to the injured.

Five of the casualties were reported from Sir J.J. Hospital, where 15 injured people have been admitted, while one person died in Nair Hospital, BMC Disaster Control officials said.

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