Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mumbai rescue called off

Mumbai building collapse: Death toll rises to 66 as rescue operations called off

From Sumnima Udas, CNN

September 29, 2013 — Updated 0805 GMT (1605 HKT)


  • NEW: Owner of a ground floor store has been arrested

  • 33 people have been pulled out alive

  • The residential building in India’s financial hub of Mumbai collapsed Friday

  • Housing rights groups have been concerned about Mumbai buildings

New Delhi, India (CNN) — The death toll from a five-story building collapse in Mumbai rose to 66 on Sunday, authorities said.

Thirty-three people have been pulled out alive from the building since it collapsed Friday, said Sachidanand Gawde of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

Fearing they may have pulled out the last of the survivors, officials have ended their rescue operation.

The residential building in India’s financial hub gave way around 6 a.m. Friday.

On Friday, police arrested the owner of Mamamiya Decorators, the store on the ground floor of the building.

Ashok Kumar Mehta was charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder; a charge equivalent to unlawful negligent killing, said Mumbai police spokesman Satanrayan Chowdhury on Sunday.

His next court appearance is Tuesday.

Several buildings in the Mumbai area have crumbled this year, one of them with disastrous consequences.

In April, scores of people were killed in the collapse of an illegal multistory building in Thane, a city in the Mumbai region.

Deadly collapses have occurred in the city in past years, as well.

Housing rights groups say many old buildings in the city are rundown and neglected, while newer ones are often built using substandard materials and have structural problems.

People live in them because they don’t have a choice — in Mumbai, demand for housing far exceeds supply. About 65% of the population is estimated to live in slums, the groups say.

CNN’s Neha Sharma contributed to this report.

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Mumbai rescue called off

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