Building collapse kills 5, 58 rescued in Dharwad

Last Updated 20 March 2019, 05:50 IST

The death toll in Dharwad building collapse rises to 5. The rescue teams confirmed that they have removed three bodies including a minor from the debris on Wednesday morning taking the number of deaths to 5.

The rescue operation at the building collapse site continued overnight. The NDRF team from Bengaluru reached Dharwad at around 1.30 pm and immediately plunged into the rescue operation. However going by the magnitude of the damage and debris here, officials claim the rescue operation will be completed by evening.

In the meantime, the administration has sought more help from Centre and 76 NDRF team from Gaziabad will join SDRF in one hour from now. They are arriving on a special flight to Belagavi. The rescue team has so far has rescued 58 persons and admitted to civil hospital.

Two persons were killed and over 70 feared trapped when a four-storied under-construction commercial complex caved in at Kumareshwar Nagar in Dharwad on Tuesday afternoon.

Till 9 pm, 28 people had been brought out from under the debris of the building which is adjacent to the new central bus stand on Belagavi Road. They were shifted to the civil hospital, KIMS in Hubballi and SDM Hospital at Sattur.

Deputy Commissioner Deepa Cholan who is supervising the rescue operations said the identity of the deceased was yet to be ascertained.

The Natural Disaster Response Force (NDRF) NDRF team of 25 members which left Bengaluru by road, was expected to reach Dharwad to help the rescue operation soon, she said. A team of five experts have already reached the spot and have begun rescue operations.

The DC said about seven people who were trapped under the debris are communicating with the rescue team and are crying for help. “We have to break the heavy concrete beams that are blocking access to them. It will take time. We are providing them oxygen and drinking water,” the DC said.

As news of the collapse broke, rescue operations commenced immediately but considering the magnitude of the damage, it could take at least six to seven hours before the debris is cleared and relief operations are completed.

Expressing shock over the incident, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said that he has instructed Chief Secretary T M Vijaya Bhaskar to supervise rescue operations. “I have also directed the CS to send additional resources and expert rescuers by a special flight to #Dharwad. The rescue operation is on, and five people have been extricated so far, from the debris. I have instructed the officials to be on location,” he tweeted.

Relatives of those believed to be stuck under the debris rushed to spot and were looking for their kin frantically.

Police evacuated the building adjacent to the complex after it developed cracks.

The building belongs to former minister Vinay Kulkarni’s father-in-law Gangadhar Shintri, who has owned responsibility for the accident and has assured he will bear the medical expenses of the injured. Meanwhile, it is learnt that a structural fault in the building led to the collapse.

A detailed investigation will alone reveal the reason for the accident, the DC said. Four shops on the ground and first floors were rented out while the building was still under construction. The people questioned the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation’s (HDMC) move to allow occupancy of the building before the completion of the construction.

However, HDMC officials said that there was a provision to grant a part-completion certificate.

The DC told DH that firefighters, ambulances, earth movers, paramedical and medical staff, police force and CRPF units have been pressed into service.

Police commissioner M N Nagaraj, DCP Nagesh, Dharwad SP G Sangeeta, additional DC Suresh Itnal and assistant commissioner Mohammed Zuber were on the spot to guide the rescue operations.

Municipal Administration Minister C S Shivalli, former minister Vinay Kulkarni, MLA Prasad Abbayya also rushed to the spot.

Nearly 500 policemen and home guards were deployed and over 30 ambulances were shifting the injured to the hospitals.

The local people too were assisting the police and fire and emergency services staff in the rescue operations.

The large crowd at the accident spot hindered rescue operations and movement of ambulances. Traffic in the city was also affected.

The residents of Kumareshwar Nagar who were jolted by the loud noise, initially thought it was a plane crash. But after learning that it was a building collapse, they rushed to the spot. Many cars and two-wheelers were struck under the debris.

(Published 19 March 2019, 16:39 IST)

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