Building collapse: Survivors recount tragedy

Building collapse: Survivors recount tragedy

Survivors are still coming to terms with the tragedy that struck the ill-fated seven-storey building in Shil Phata's Lucky Compound in which over 70 people were killed.

Though their fall was from the highest point, the nature of the collapse where one slab fell on another, made it possible for many like 50-year-old Mahtam Ram escape with minor injuries.

The carpenter was about to call it a day when there was a thud. "I first thought it was an earthquake...I got pulled into the rubble within seconds and the next thing I remember was getting stuck from my knee down," Ram, a native of Mau from Uttar Pradesh, said from his hospital bed.

"There were ten of us. All of us had just finished work or were about to when it happened. All the ten of us are alive, thanks to our location (the under-construction eighth floor)," chips in Dinesh Ram, 32, from an adjoining bed.

Dinesh, a helper, stays in the nearby Diva town with friends and has a wife and two daughters back home in Mau. He suffered a fracture on his left leg.

His family, which counts on the money wired by Dinesh, may know of the accident from the news media, but he has chosen not to inform and shock them.

Jaiprakash Yadav is nervous about his six-month pregnant wife. The 25-year-old stayed nearby Lucky Compound. The sight of the smoke going up from the rubble, followed by the news of the collapse, forced his wife to go on a search for her husband which ended only in the wee hours of Friday.

"I visited many other hospitals before ultimately finding my husband at the Civil Hospital here," she said.

Fortunately, Yadav has escaped with minor injuries on the body and damage to some of his teeth.

Loader Mohammed Shaikh was shuffling sacks of sand on the third floor at the time. The native of Bengal's Malda district, who suffered a hip bone fracture and head injury, said he was pulled out within an hour.

Queries about the future are met with ambivalent answers from the survivors.
"Having had a fall from the eighth floor, this is like a second life. I will go to my native place, spend time with my family and then see if I have enough strength to continue," a survivor said.

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