At least 12 people were killed when a five-story building collapsed in a suburb of the Indian metropolis of Mumbai Tuesday morning, local authorities said.
A massive search and rescue operation is now underway to dig out people trapped in the debris. Fourteen people have already been rescued from the rubble, P.S. Rahangdale, the chief fire officer at the Mumbai Fire Brigade, told CNN.
“We are still looking for more people,” he said.
Video from the site showed a chaotic scene, with dozens of bystanders nearby and first responders trying to dig through what remained of the building in the working-class neighborhood of Ghatkopar.
“It was very chaotic this morning. People were screaming, running around. The locals claim they saw the building shake for a moment before it collapsed. They are shaken by this incident,” S. Gandote, a local police inspector, told CNN.
“It was a mess for a few hours this morning. It is under control now.”
About 12 families were living there, said Vijay Khavale, a public relations officer with the Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation, which oversees the building.
More than 200 first responders have arrived at the scene, Khavale told CNN. It’s not clear yet what caused the collapse.
“We will only know the cause in a day or two,” he said.
Infrastructure accidents are tragically common in India, where critics say projects lack proper oversight and safety controls.
At least 24 people were killed in May when a wall collapsed at a wedding. Two bridge collapses last year — one in Kolkata and another on a highway connecting Mumbai to Goa — each led to the deaths of more than a dozen people.
One of the most deadly incidents occurred in 2013, when an illegal structure in Thane — not far from Mumbai — collapsed, killing more than 70.