Three rescued after three days under collapsed Indian building

Police have charged the owner of the construction company with manslaughter

Afp March 22, 2019
Rescuers searching for survivors on March 20, 2019, after a building collapsed in the Dharwad district of Karnataka. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: Indian emergency workers on Friday rescued three people trapped under the rubble of a collapsed building for three days, officials told AFP as the death toll rose to 17.

Emergency workers were searching for eight more people after the five-storey building in southern Karnataka state caved in on Tuesday, officials said.

A video shared by M N Reddi, Karnataka's emergency services chief, showed a man and his wife being pulled out of the rubble after remaining trapped for about 70 hours.

While the woman was carried out on a stretcher, a rescue worker lifted her husband on his back up the ladder out of the debris amid claps and cheers.

"Two more survivors — Dilip and his wife Sangeetha, rescued by our Fire Force rescuers just now! This takes the total rescued so far to 59. Kudos to the Rescue team!," Reddi said in a tweet.

Another man was rescued early Friday morning after being trapped for more than 62 hours. The man had no visible injuries and was hugged by the rescue team before he walked away from the debris and was taken to a nearby hospital.

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As many as 54 people have been rescued alive by the team of around 400 who have been scouring through tonnes of concrete and steel.

"Those rescued have been shifted to the hospital and five persons have been arrested in the matter," emergency official Srikant, who goes by one name, told AFP.

Police have charged the owner of the construction company — one of the five arrested — with manslaughter.

Heavy earth-movers and rescuers with specialised equipment and sniffer dogs were deployed in the increasingly desperate operation.

The victims were mostly from northern Indian states who had come to the region for work.

Building collapses are frequent in India. Many firms use cheap materials and bribe officials to evade regulations, while on-site safety is lax.

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Many Indian cities have seen rapid growth in the last few decades with new buildings often built without proper quality supervision, and the older ones poorly maintained.

Last September, five people were killed after a Delhi apartment block collapsed. Months earlier, a six-storey building in the capital gave way, killing nine.

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