At least 32 people were killed and over 60 others injured when a four-storey building collapsed in a busy east Delhi locality on Monday night.
The building caved in at around 8.15 pm in congested Lalita Park area of Laxmi Nagar. Some 60 people were rescued from the building but scores of others are still feared to be trapped, a senior police official said.
"32 people have been killed in the incident," Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said. City Police Commissioner B K Gupta and medical officials said over 60 people were injured.
The injured persons and the bodies have been taken to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital and Hedgewar Hospital.
Finance Minister A K Walia said the foundation of the old building could have weakened due to the heavy rains in the monsoon season when water of the Yamuna river flooded the area.
Locals said some water was still there in the basement of the building. Some residents also claimed that construction of an extra floor was going on when the incident took place.
Many of the injured were labourers. A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident, Delhi government officials said. Huge mounds of concrete slabs and rubble were seen all around as rescuers, helped by the local residents, faced a tough task extricating people from under the debris.
The building is owned by a cement businessman named Amrit Singh, police officials said adding, an adjoining building also faces the risk of collapse and people have been evacuated.
"The scale of the tragedy is unprecedented. I don't think such a tragedy has taken place in Delhi in the recent past," Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said.
Fire brigade, police and Municipal Corporation of Delhi officials were engaged in the rescue operation and removal of debris with the help of local residents.
Delhi Finance Minister A K Walia, who rushed to the spot, said the foundation of the old building could have weakened due to the heavy rains in the monsoon season when water of the Yamuna river flooded the area.
Many of the injured were labourers. "Such a large building just went down in minutes," an eyewitness said.
People gathered in large numbers in the area. Locals complained that initially there were no power and no cranes to help in the rescue efforts.
Ambulances and PCR jeeps were seen rushing the injured persons to hospitals.