Chennai building collapse toll rises to 11
Chennai: The death toll in the 11-storey building collapse in Chennai Sunday went up to 11, officials said adding that 20 people rescued from the debris were admitted to hospital.
The under-construction residential building in Moulivakkam area in Porur collapsed Saturday evening, trapping over 50 people.
Citing the magnitude of the debris after the building turned into rubble in a matter of minutes, a fire service official said it would take at least another day to clear it.
An official at the site told IANS that the debris of two floors have been removed and the work is expected to gain momentum Monday.
The residential project Trust Heights was being developed by Prime Sristi Housing Pvt Ltd. The project comprised two 11-storey blocks - The Belief and The Faith.
The rescue operations continued through Saturday night and were still on Sunday. Police cordoned off the area to ensure that rescue work was carried out swiftly.
Most of the people who were trapped under the debris are said to be construction workers and some might have taken shelter in the building as it was raining at the time of the collapse, people in the area said.
Two women who were rescued after several hours of struggle miraculously escaped unhurt.
Both the women, caked with mud and dust, just walked down to the team of waiting doctors for first aid without any major injuries.
In another case, a man in his 50s whose leg was crushed under a concrete slab was rescued and rushed to hospital.
Frantic relatives of those trapped under the debris were at the site waiting for good news.
"I am praying that my nephew who is under the debris is alive," said Promod.
Police arrested five people, two of whom - Manoharan and his son Muthu - are the project developers and the others are engineers.
More than 15 fire tenders and 150 firefighters, National Disaster Response Force personnel and those from other state government agencies are involved in the rescue work.
Giant steel rod cutters and other equipment have been pressed into service, while sniffer dogs and sophisticated cameras are at the accident site to locate trapped people.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa visited the accident site Sunday evening and spoke to the officials there.
Earlier in a statement issued here, Jayalalithaa announced a solatium of Rs.2 lakh for the families of each of the dead and Rs.50,000 for each of the injured.
Expressing grief over the death of the people, she said orders have been issued to officials to send the bodies of the dead to their native places at the state government's cost.