MUMBAI, India (AP):Frantic relatives kept a vigil yesterday at the site of a collapsed apartment building that killed at least 42 people in India's financial capital of Mumbai, as the search for around a dozen people missing in the rubble grew bleak. Rescuers found just one person alive during the day.
The cause of Friday morning's cave-in was not known, but neighbourhood residents complained of builders using substandard materials - with some expressing fear that their own buildings might also fall down.
Between 83 and 89 people were inside the five-story building when it collapsed, according to residents. Rescuers have pulled 33 people out of the rubble alive since the cave-in, but the searchers have not detected any signs of life recently, Alok Awasthi, local commander of the National Disaster Response Force, said Saturday. Still, he vowed that rescuers would continue to search for the missing people.
It was the third deadly building collapse in six months in Mumbai, which like much of India has lax building inspections and corruption that can form a deadly combination.
Rudiben Parmar sat with several weeping relatives near the rubble yesterday, waiting for news of the last of five family members who were in the building. Three - a nephew and two of his children - had already been found dead. The nephew's wife was rescued, but the couple's young daughter was still unaccounted for Saturday morning.
Parmer said she didn't know who was to blame for the disaster, but didn't care about anything but learning of all her relatives' fate.
"We will be OK once all members of our family are recovered," she said.
The building, located in southeast Mumbai, caved in early Friday morning, trapping dozens of people and launching an intense search mission.
Emergency workers laboured for six hours yesterday to free a 50-year-old man who was trapped for more than 30 hours beneath the wreckage with his leg crushed by part of a wall. Rescuers reached him and lifted up the slab of cement using a specialised compressed air-pressure bag, and rushed him to a hospital in the afternoon.
"We were able to save him, but he may lose his leg," Awasthi said.
The death toll had climbed to 42 by yesterday evening, he said.
"We are not finding any more signs of life right now, but we will continue to search until all are accounted for," Awasthi said.