Bhiwandi, India -- At least 16 people were killed and another 25 may be trapped under the rubble after a three-story residential building collapsed in Bhiwandi, western India, authorities said.
The collapse occurred around 03:40 a.m. local time in Bhiwandi, a city near the country’s financial capital, Mumbai. The building was 30 years old.
A person in charge of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) explained that 15 bodies had already been found in the rubble, and they were also able to rescue about 20 people alive, including two children aged four and seven. The injured were admitted to hospitals, said the Thane district magistrate’s office, to which Bhiwandi belongs.
The director-general of the NDRF, Satya Narayan Pradhan, indicated that the rescue teams, assisted by trained dogs, were still looking for between “20 and 25 people who would be trapped.”
“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,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated on his Twitter account.
The cause of the accident is unknown, but collapses of buildings are relatively common in India between June and September, during the monsoon season. Furthermore, with strong seasonal winds and heavy rain, the structure of buildings can be weakened, thus causing a collapse.