Crazy crowding at slab collapse sitehits rescue work

A Crowd of close to 150 people gathered at the site of the slab collapse yesterday at an ayurveda medical college, making rescue work difficult for the fire brigade and policemen.

As the rescue work progressed last afternoon, many thronged the site just to see what had happened. Some people even climbed on top of the building.

Voyeurstic urge: Onlookers at the spot near Wagholi where an under-construction hospital dome crashed yesterday. Pic/Prathmesh Patil

The mishap happened when an under-construction dome came down, killing 13 labours and injuring one. The dome was part of the under-construction hospital building of the Bharati Sanskriti Darshan Trust (BSDT) Ayurvedic College near Wagholi.

In the way: Curious onlookers crowd around the mishap site near Wagholi even as rescue operations are underway yesterday. The slab that collapsed was from an under-construction four-storey building of an ayurvedic college hospital near Kesnand Phata. PICs/Prathmesh Patil

The incident took place when the construction of the cement dome was underway on the fifth floor of the building meant for Panchakarma-Ayurvedic treatment.

The JCB operator who was present at the spot when the incident took place said that the tragedy could have been the result of weak casting of the cement dome.

He added that initially the casting came down from one side, and soon the entire construction “got folded” in the middle and came crashing to the ground, crushing several labours.

Call to fire brigade

The central fire brigade received a call at 2.45 pm and the Yerawada fire brigade vehicle was sent to the spot.

“We have removed 13 dead bodies from the debris. As the removal of debris is still on, the number of dead may increase,” Chief Fire Brigade Officer Pradeep Ranpise said. “We got the first call from the spot at 2.45 pm. When we reached the spot, we found that the fourth-floor slab of the under-construction building had collapsed and workers on that floor as well as those working on the ground floor were trapped in the debris.”

Superintendent of Police (Pune Rural) Manojkumar Lohiya said there was crowding at the spot where the rescue work was going on. Lohiya lamented that very few people from the crowd helped the police with the rescue work.

BSDT college director Dr S P Sardeshmukh said that the work had been underway for the past 10 months. Expressing shock over the incident, Sardeshmukh said the construction for the Panchakarma building was on and he was informed about the incident after 2.15 pm while he was on his way to Mumbai.

Sardeshmukh refused to comment on whether a case would be registered against the contractor in charge, Prompt Landmark. He said the police had asked for basic information regarding the construction activity.

Four of the dead were identified as Kalyan (40), Tulsiram (45), Rajesh (18) and Nilesh (18). The cause of the accident was yet to be ascertained.  

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