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Chennai highrise collapses in rain

A worker trapped in the debris of the building in a Chennai suburb. (PTI)

Chennai, June 28: Five workers died and dozens, including children, were feared trapped when a 12-storey under-construction residential building coming up in a Chennai suburb collapsed during heavy thundershowers this evening.

Twenty people were rescued and admitted to hospital. But of them, three men and two women died later, a hospital spokesperson said.

The building, one of the two blocks of the complex ironically named “Trust Heights” at Mugaliwalkam in south-west Chennai, caved in suddenly while the labourers, who had temporarily stopped work, waited for the rain to abate.

“As of now, eight injured persons have been rescued and sent to hospital. According to the supervisor, at least 50 people, including women and children, were taking cover from the heavy rain. Many of them could be trapped under the concrete and iron rods. We are hoping for the best,” Chennai police commissioner S. George said.

Poor approach roads, wet conditions because of the rain and a large gathering of onlookers hampered rescue efforts by fire service personnel who were later joined by a 260-strong contingent from the National Disaster Response Force located at Arakonam, 100km from the Tamil Nadu capital.

Preliminary reports indicated the buildings were coming up at a spot where a lake used to exist before it was filled up with rubble and levelled to be developed as a housing site.

“It appears that weak soil could have triggered the collapse, for which reason the nearby tower could also be unstable. We have evacuated all the workers who were staying in tin sheds put up inside the complex. Soil and construction experts would inspect the area tomorrow,” said a senior fire official.

One of the promoters of the project told a Tamil news channel there were no violations or deficiencies while constructing the complex and that the building collapsed only after it was struck by lightning.

Delhi cave-in

A four-storey dilapidated residential building collapsed in a crowded neighbourhood in north Delhi this morning, killing 10. Five children were among the dead.

“We got a call about the incident at 8.55am. The building was around 50 years old and a number of families lived there,” deputy commissioner of police Madhur Verma said, adding the building was “unauthorised”.