NEW DELHI: Rescuers yesterday plucked two survivors from the ruins of a southern India apartment block that collapsed at the weekend, as they raced against the clock to find dozens more feared trapped in the rubble.
The confirmed death toll from Saturday’s disaster on the outskirts of Chennai rose to 20 as authorities blamed shoddy construction for what was the second deadly building collapse in India within a matter of hours.
Karuna Sagar, a senior officer with the Tamil Nadu state police force said that, six people were arrested in the case on account of negligence, including the builder and his son, the architect of the residential tower and three others overseeing the building construction.
“Forty-three bodies were retrieved, of them 20 were dead and 23 were alive,” Sagar said.
“About 30 may be trapped (under the debris), but the exact number is not known yet,” he added, speaking in English.
Reports said that two people rescued yesterday morning included a 35-year-old female construction worker who was one of several dozen entombed by a mass of concrete on Saturday night. The woman had suffered a head injury, a hospital spokesman told the Press Trust of India. A male co-worker was also being treated in hospital.
Emergency teams used mechanical diggers and heavy-cutting equipment to try and find more survivors in the ruins.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said more than 400 rescuers were taking part in the search and were “leaving no stone unturned to save lives of the victims... by making best use of the latest sophisticated equipment”.