Mumbai building collapse: death toll reaches 45

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Indian rescue workers and local residents stand near the debris at the site of a building collapse in Thane, on the outskirts of Mumbai on April 5, 2013.

Credit:

PUNIT PARANJPE

Rescue workers are still searching for survivors in the debris of a building that collapsed outside Mumbai, but there “little chance that anyone will come out alive,” a government disaster management officer told the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ has the highest death toll count, saying that at least 45 people have died so far. Dozens more are injured.

The building, in Thane, was under construction, and 11 construction workers are among the dead. "Illegal construction is a major problem in the Thane area,” Sandeep Malvi, public relations officer of Thane Municipal Corporation, told the New York Times. “Each time we demolish a building, someone builds again. We demolish it, and they build.”

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Miraculously, a baby less than six months old managed to come out of the wreckage alive, the Telegraph reported. It was carried out of the rubble, its face white with dust and debris, as rescue workers and onlookers cheered.

It was an inspiring moment in an otherwise grim day reflecting major safety hazards and corruption in India's construction industry. Despite the fact that the building's construction was not complete, at least four floors had been occupied. Workers had finished three more floors and were adding an eighth when the building came collapsing down, the Guardian reported. The building's structure was weak and didn't have the right safety clearances, authorities say. Police are now on the hunt to arrest the builders.