Death toll rises in India building accident

2014-01-06 17:18
Indian rescue workers search for victims in the rubble of a collapsed building under construction. (STR, AFP)

Indian rescue workers search for victims in the rubble of a collapsed building under construction. (STR, AFP)

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Panaji - Rescuers found two more bodies under a massive pile of broken concrete under a building that collapsed while being constructed in southern India, raising the death toll to at least 17 workers, a state official said on Monday.

Twelve others were feared trapped in the rubble and were presumed dead, the top elected official of Goa state, Manohar Parrikar, told reporters.

Rescuers have recovered 22 survivors, pulling the last from the wreckage late on Sunday, Parrikar said. There was little hope of finding any more people alive in the rubble two days after Saturday's collapse of the five-story structure.

Digging at the site was halted temporarily on Monday after two adjacent buildings, also under construction, developed wide cracks, raising fears that they might also collapse. Police cordoned off the area and called engineers to inspect the two buildings, police officer Mohan Naik said.

The building was being constructed in marshland in Canacona, about 70km from Panaji, the capital of Goa state.

Police said they were unable to determine how many workers were at the site when the structure crumpled because they could not reach the builder and contractor, who are suspected of fleeing.

Building collapses are common in India, as massive demand for housing and lax regulations often encourage builders to cut corners by using substandard materials or add unauthorised extra floors.

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