How lady luck came to survivors' rescue

Jun 13, 2013, 06:33 IST | Iram Siddique

A relative insisting on dinner at his place, an umbrella that sheltered a little boy, timely help from locals, and prayers: all worked to save a few residents of Altaf Mansion

Survivors of the Mahim building collapse, who escaped unhurt or were not present when the incident occurred, thank their luck for their lives today. MiD DAY spoke to a few residents of Altaf Mansion who survived the June 10 collapse. For 24-year-old Galen Bowan who lived on the third floor of the building, a visit to Goregaon to meet his relative saved his life.

Galen Bowan

“I had gone to meet my uncle at his office. When I was about to leave he insisted that I stay for dinner. Had I left without eating, I would have been back in my apartment and probably died in the accident.” Bowan learnt of the calamity that had struck his house when he was a few minutes away from the building.


The Mithaiwala family who lived on the fourth floor of the building had a miraculous escape as well. “My mother was praying in her room when she heard a loud noise. She couldn’t see anything, as there was dust all over. Within a fraction of a second, our entire flat slit into two.

Naz Mithaiwala

Miraculously the floor of our house was the only part that remained intact, and also the reason we are alive today,” Juveria Mithaiwala said. Fortunately, Juveria was out with her brother Zubair at the time. However, her mother Naz, suffered minor injuries on her head and leg. All the five members of the family survived with minor injuries.

Mahim building collapse
Galen Bowan who lived on the third floor was visiting a relative in Goregaon at the time of the collapse; Naz Mithaiwala escaped with an injury to her head and leg while her four-year-old grandson Fahad escaped unhurt. The site of the Altaf Mansion that collapsed on June 10. Pic/Satyajit Desai

A mother-son duo on the fourth floor, Sana (24) and Fahad (4), also escaped unhurt. They, along with Sana’s mother-in-law, were rescued after breaking the window of their fourth floor apartment. Soon after they were moved to safety, their floor, along with the one above, came crashing down, reducing the structure to a heap of rubble.

Neighbour Usman Shaikh, manager of the nearby Khadija building in the locality, said, “By the time I reached the spot, the fourth floor had already fallen away. We rescued those who were stuck inside. They were the members of the Mithaiwala family. Zubair’s son Fahad was said to be playing with an umbrella which helped shelter him to an extent. He was saved because of that. It’s God’s grace that they have survived such a tragedy.” 

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