Update: Rescue operation Called off at Building Collapse Site

The rescue effort at a building collapse in Mumbai India has now been called off as emergency workers say no more survivors can be found.

The death toll in the Bhiwandi building collapse in Maharashtra has now risen to 41, the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) announced on Thursday. The incident took place on September 21 and the rescue operation that was underway for nearly three days has been called off.

A total of 25 people have been rescued so far, the three-storey building collapsed around 3:40 am on Monday in the Patel Compound area in Thane district. Soon after the incident, the NDRF, fire brigade, and police teams had rushed to the scene to carry out rescue operations. On Wednesday, the police had stated that the death toll in the Bhiwandi building collapse had risen to 39, with the recovery of 14 more bodies overnight. However, two more bodies were recovered today morning, taking the death toll to 41.

The dead sadly included 18 children in the age group of two to 15, including three toddlers, an official said. Twenty-five people were pulled out of the debris alive and they are being treated at hospitals in Bhiwandi and Thane. Search operation had continued throughout the night despite heavy rains.

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have condoled the loss of lives in the incident. Taking to Twitter, PM Modi had on Monday said, “Saddened by the building collapse in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying for a quick recovery of those injured. Rescue operations are underway and all possible assistance is being provided to the affected.”

The authorities have now suspended two civic officials in connection with the collapse and a criminal case has been registered against the building owner. The building, which was not even in the list of dilapidated structures of Municipal Corporation, had 40 flats and around 150 persons lived there. The death toll was high because the building had collapsed while the residents were asleep, said officials.

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Tony Winterburn

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