Rescue workers in Mumbai are still trying to rescue more than a dozen people feared trapped in a six-story building that has collapsed in India’s commercial and financial hub.
At least 21 people have been confirmed dead and 13 people were rescued and were recovering in the hospital. Six firefighters were also injured in the six-story building, the chief fire official said.
“There was a massive bang. We couldn’t see anything due to the dust and smoke. Once the dust settled, we realized it was a building collapse,” area resident Amina Sheikh told Reuters.
The building collapse came after two days of heavy rains that flooded Mumbai and killed 14 people.
Located in one of the most densely populated areas of the city, the 117-year-old condemned building had been declared dilapidated by the city’s municipal housing authority in 2011.
Devendra Fadnavis, the chief minister of the state of Maharashtra, said the government had given final notice for the building's demolition in May 2016, but added some families had refused to leave.
One resident in the area said people had not been given proper details of what type of new housing they would be provided, making them reluctant to leave.
It was still unknown the exact number of residents in the building when it collapsed.
Police had yet to determine what caused the collapse near Crawford market, a landmark of south Mumbai’s old city with narrow streets packed with markets and shops.
About 200 police and fire personnel sorted through the debris, but rescuers said the area’s narrow roads were making it difficult to bring in the excavators.
The collapse was the second in Mumbai in a little over a month. In late July, 17 people were killed when a four-story building crumbled after undergoing suspected unauthorized renovations.
Mumbai’s municipal corporation has listed 791 buildings as dangerous this year, but only a few of those buildings have been evacuated or demolished. An official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corp told Reuters more than 500 of them were still being occupied.