Death toll from India building collapse jumps to 26

MUMBAI (AFP) – The death toll from an apartment block collapse in western India climbed to 26 late on Tuesday (Sept 22), with around a dozen people still believed to be trapped, officials said, as rescuers searched for survivors.

Emergency workers from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have pulled 20 survivors from the rubble of the three-storey building in Bhiwandi, near Mumbai.

The NDRF had earlier said that its teams had managed to rescue five more people on Tuesday, more than 30 hours after the accident, but commandant Ithape Pandit later told AFP that the reports were wrong.

“There was a mistake in reporting the accurate figures,” he said.

“Total death toll stands at 26… We have rescued 20 people so far and operations are still ongoing”, he said, adding that emergency workers were searching for around 12-15 people believed to be trapped under debris.

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but building collapses are common during India’s June-September monsoon season, with old and rickety structures buckling after days of non-stop rain.

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