A flyover under construction in the Indian city of Kolkata (Calcutta) has collapsed, killing at least 24 people and injuring nearly 100.
More are feared trapped under the concrete and steel bridge, and rescue efforts are continuing all night. Images show residents using their bare hands to help find victims. Safety issues such as lack of inspections and the use of substandard materials have plagued construction projects in the country. The accident took place in an area near Girish Park, one of Kolkata’s most densely populated neighbourhoods, with narrow lanes, and shops and houses built close together.
The 2km-long (1.2 mile) flyover had been under construction since 2009 and missed several deadlines for completion.
These are chaotic scenes, as officials are desperately trying to clear the area, worried that the rest of the flyover may collapse. They are trying to bring in equipment to clear the rubble and rescue those who may be under it. But the proximity of the buildings may limit the access for heavy lifting equipment to the area.
It is a race against time and the death toll may rise. A rescue official said there were buses trapped.
Locals have been digging through the huge slabs of rubble with pick axes while police hold back relatives desperate for news of the missing.
As the operation continues, angry relatives arrive looking for their loved ones. At the same time, more bodies are being taken away.
The army used heat cameras to track survivors. Challenged by the metal and concrete, rescuers used cutters, drilling machines and sensors.
A 140-tonne crane brought to the scene was unable to lift a huge slab under which many people were feared trapped.
Another eyewitness, Ravindra Kumar Gupta, together with friends pulled out six bodies.
He told the news agency: “Every night, hundreds of labourers would build the flyover and they would cook and sleep near the site by day.”
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Washington in an official visit, tweeted that he was “shocked and saddened” by the collapse.
“My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in Kolkata. May the injured recover at the earliest,” he added.
“The causes of the disaster were not immediately clear but the company in charge of the construction, IVRCL, said it would cooperate with investigators.”
India’s collapsing building problem
- August 2015: At least 11 people die after a building collapses near India’s western city of Mumbai
- July 2015: Five killed after a four-storey building collapses in Delhi
- April 2013: 74 people die after a high-rise residential building in Mumbai collapses
- June 2014: At least 10 people killed when a three-storey building in Delhi collapses
- June 2014: At least 60 people killed when a building collapses in a Chennai suburb
- November 2010: 69 killed and more than 80 injured in a collapse in Delhi
- September 2009: Chimney of a power plant in Chhattisgarh caves in, killing 40 people
Source : NDTV