About 50 children had a narrow escape on Thursday when a building collapsed some 20 minutes before their playschool in the five-storey structure was to start for the day.
The school functioned on the ground floor of the Hussaini building located at Pakmodia Street in the Bhendi Bazaar area in Mumbai.
The structure collapsed just about 20 minutes before the playschool was to start at 9 am, the father of a two-year-old playschool-goer said.
The Mumbai resident was taking his child to the playschool -- meant for pre-schoolers-- when he saw the building crumble.
"I came down from my house, located opposite Hussaini Building, to drop my child to the playgroup when we saw the structure come crashing down like a pack of cards," he said.
At least 16 people were killed as the building near the J J Hospital in south Mumbai caved in.
A fire brigade official said the children had a narrow escape.
"A major tragedy was averted," the official said.
The incident occurred two days after the city was pummelled by torrential rains, which may have caused damage to the building.
IMAGE: Fire brigade and NDRF personnel carry out the search and rescue operation following the collapse of building. Photograph: Mitesh Bhuvad/ PTI Photo