Maharashtra building crash kills 13; four-year-old is a miraculous survivor
Raigad (Maharashtra), August 25, 2020
The death toll in the Tarique Garden building crash in Mahad town near here rose to 13 with nine more bodies recovered from the rubble while a 4-year-old boy was among the 83 survivors, police and NDRF said on Tuesday.
The NDRF said that nine more bodies have been retrieved from the debris till this evening, taking the toll to 13. They include six men, five women and two children.
Earlier this afternoon, Raigad Police official Meena Sanap had confirmed four deaths and around a dozen were still feared trapped underneath.
"Besides the fatalities, there are a total of at least eight injured and another 83 persons have been rescued safely," Sanap told IANS.
This afternoon, the rescue teams of NDRF, SDRF, Raigad Police and Fire Brigade achieved a miraculous breakthrough, digging out a 4-year-old boy alive from the debris after 18 hours.
Identified as Mohammed N. Bangi, he appeared shocked and shaken but had sustained only minor injuries and was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment.
"The relief and rescue operations are going on in full swing on a war-footing," said Relief & Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar.
Visiting the site this morning, Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde ordered a thorough probe into the incident and the district authorities have identified at least six persons who are being booked for the tragedy.
They include the builder, the architect, the RCC consultant, the contractor, the then CEO of the civic body, the chief engineer, who are the persons usually held accountable in such tragedies.
Earlier, Raigad Collector Nidhi Chaudhari and district Superintendent of Police Anil Paraskar gaved a detailed briefing on the situation to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, while Raigad Guardian Minister Aditi Tatkare supervised the rescue operation.
A team of Mahad Police has left for Mumbai to arrest the builder and contractor who constructed the building besides taking action against others involved in it.
Three teams of NDRF, Raigad Police, Fire Brigade and other NGOs were involved in the rescue work assisted by a dog squad to sniff out the victims trapped underneath.
Located in the Kajalpura area, the Tarique Garden residential building -- with 21 flats in A-Wing and 20 in B-Wing and a total of 97 residents, suddenly came crashing down on Monday around 6 pm, in Mahad town, some 170 kms south of Mumbai.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "saddened" by the building crash and assured that local authorities and NDRF teams at the site are providing all possible assistance to the victims.
"My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their dear ones. I pray the injured recover soon," said Modi.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said he was disturbed by the Raigad building crash and sympathised with the families of the victims.
"I appeal to the Maharashtra government to rush help to the victims and those trapped. Congress workers should also help the rescue workers," Gandhi said on Tuesday.
The building, said to be a little more than six years old, was constructed by two Mumbai-based realtors.
"Stringent action will be taken against all those found guilty. We shall also carry out a structural audit of all old and dilapidated structures in the state to prevent recurrences of such tragedies," Minister Shinde told mediapersons this morning.