Rescuers race to find 20 still trapped in India building collapse

Rescuers race to find 20 still trapped in India building collapse

PANAJI, India - Indian rescuers were racing Sunday to try to save up to 20 people still feared trapped in the ruins of a partially-constructed building that collapsed "like a pack of cards".

Rescuers have so far pulled 13 bodies from the residential building that crumbled mid-afternoon on Saturday while poorly paid daily-wage labourers were working on the site in a coastal village in the tourist state of Goa.

A senior officer overseeing the rescue told AFP some 15-20 people are feared still buried under the debris but the chances of finding anyone alive were "getting bleak" as time passes.

"There were some 40 people working when the building collapsed. We have pulled out 25 dead or alive so we believe (up to) 20 to be still inside," said the officer, who did not want to give his name as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The accident is the latest in a string of deadly building collapses in India that have highlighted shoddy construction standards. A huge demand for housing in India and pervasive corruption often result in cost-cutting and a lack of safety inspections.

In September a rundown residential block in the financial hub Mumbai collapsed, killing 60 people.

The officer said the known death toll for the latest collapse remained at 13 but was expected to rise during the day.

Rescue workers using cranes and bulldozers, shovels and bare hands, struggled to shift concrete slabs and other debris to try to free the labourers trapped under the building in the seaside village of Canacona, south of the state capital of Panaji.

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