The death toll from a building collapse in western India on Monday rose to 39, authorities said on Wednesday, as hopes of finding more survivors dwindle.
Rescuers from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have so far been able to extract 20 people alive from the rubble of this three-story residential building in Bhiwandi, near Bombay.
The teams, aided by sniffer dogs, also removed 39 bodies of cement and brick debris from the building that collapsed before dawn Monday at around 3:40 a.m. (6:10 p.m. EDT Sunday), a porter told reporters. word of the NDRF and the local authorities.
“Five people remain missing so (…) operations are continuing,” said NDRF commander Anupam Srivastava.
An official from Thane municipality, which includes Bhiwandi, said at least eight children were among those who died.
The causes of the accident were not immediately known. Building collapses are relatively common in India between June and September, during the monsoon season, with intense rainfall sometimes weakening structures.
On Wednesday, after heavy rainfall overnight in the region, many trains were delayed or canceled in Mumbai. City officials have declared the day a public holiday and advised residents to stay at home due to flooding and traffic difficulties in parts of the country's financial capital.