Forty people feared trapped in Mumbai building collapse: official

Mumbai (AFP) –


Rescuers were desperately searching for up to 40 people feared trapped when a building collapsed in India's financial capital of Mumbai Thursday, killing one, an official said.

The four-storey residential building gave way around 08:40 am (0310 GMT) in the densely populated area of Bhendi Bazaar, after heavy rains in the city killed 10 people.

An official in the control room of India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said one body had been pulled from the rubble.

Four people have been rescued but dozens more are thought to be trapped, he added.

"Forty people are believed to be stuck inside and a 43-member team is conducting rescue operations," the official told AFP.

He said eight or nine families were thought to have been living in the building.

Building collapses are common in India, especially during the monsoon season from late June to September, when heavy rains lash the teeming metropolis.

Severe downpours began on Tuesday and caused flooding across Mumbai and the neighbouring region of Thane.

Mumbai has been hit by several deadly building collapses in recent years, often caused by shoddy construction, poor quality materials or ageing buildings.

The city is particularly vulnerable to deadly collapse with millions forced to live in cramped, ramshackle properties because of rising real estate prices and a lack of housing for the poor.

In July 17 people, including a three-month-old baby, died when a four-storey building gave way in the northern suburb of Ghatkopar.

In 2013, 60 people were killed when a residential block came crashing down in one of Mumbai's worst housing disasters.