Deadly rain shelter

Deadly rain shelter
Rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a collapsed 12-storey building that was under construction (left and below) on the outskirts of the southern Indian city of Chennai.

After 17 hours trapped under rubble from a collapsed building in the Indian city of Chennai, a man walked out from the space he had been trapped in.

The man, who walked out at 10am yesterday, said that two bodies and two more workers remained trapped in that space, reported the Times of India.

The 12-storey building, which was under construction, had collapsed on Saturday night after heavy rain, killing and trapping more than 100 workers who had been working or taking shelter there. After the man was taken to hospital, cheers broke out when a woman walked out unaided at 10.45am.

Rescue workers cleared a space for the woman who refused a stretcher before she was sent to hospital.

Senior police officer Karuna Sagar told NDTV television that nine bodies had been pulled from the wreckage, while 20 people were rescued and were being treated in hospital. Mr Sagar added that witnesses had heard a loud sound, and the building collapsed after some 50 workers went in to seek shelter from the rain.

'BIG CHALLENGE'

Television footage showed rescue workers scouring through the debris yesterday afternoon with shovels as they searched desperately for trapped survivors.

A disaster management official leading the search operation said it was "a big challenge", and that clearing the debris could take days.

"There is no clarity on the number of people trapped," said Mr S. P. Selvan, a senior officer from the National Disaster Response Force.

The latest building disaster comes as a dilapidated apartment block collapsed in New Delhi on Saturday, killing 10 people, including five children, reported AFP.

Mr Sagar told NDTV that police had detained people for questioning, including engineers involved with the construction of the residential complex.

"We will look into all aspects of planning permission and quality of construction, the structure aspect and the soil condition and see what's wrong," he said.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram announced compensation of 200,000 rupees (S$4,200) to the families of the dead and 50,000 rupees for those injured.


This article was first published on June 30, 2014.
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