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At least 13 killed, many injured in building collapse in India

September 27, 2013|By Mark Magnier
  • Rescue workers look for survivors and clear debris Friday at the site of a building that collapsed in Mumbai, India.
Rescue workers look for survivors and clear debris Friday at the site of… (Rajanish Kakade / Associated…)

KARACHI, Pakistan -- At least 13 people were killed and dozens injured Friday when a five-story apartment building collapsed in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, officials said.

Rescuers were working to reach those trapped in the rubble.

Sunil Prabhu, the city’s mayor, told local news channels that 22 families were living in the building, which reportedly imploded shortly after 6 a.m. Most of the residents were believed to be at home. Officials said the building, which is in south Mumbai near the dockyards and the Babu Genu market, was more than 30 years old and being renovated.

Television video showed orange cranes working frantically in the large rubble field in a bid to free those still trapped as worried relatives waited nearby for word of their missing loved ones. Fire trucks and ambulances waited nearby.

The cause of the collapse was not immediately known, but Mumbai’s municipal government said it was forming two committees to investigate the disaster and audit other buildings in the city that could be vulnerable. Such accidents often happen during the monsoon season, analysts said, when foundations settle, materials lose strength and roofs must support more weight.

Building collapses are common in South Asia, given poor building standards, corrupt inspectors, crowded conditions and substandard materials. In June, a residential building known as Aftab Mansion in the Mumbai suburb of Mahim West collapsed, killing 10 people. And in April, at least 72 people died when an illegally constructed building in the city’s outskirts disintegrated.

From 2008 to 2012, 100 buildings collapsed in the city, resulting in more than 50 deaths and 100 injuries, officials say.

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Twitter: @markmagnier

mark.magnier@latimes.com

Special correspondent Tanvi Sharma in New Delhi contributed to this report.

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