PANAJI, India (AP) -- Rescuers using backhoes and shovels searched for
survivors Sunday under a massive pile of broken concrete and dust left
when a residential building collapsed under construction in southern
India, killing at least 14 workers.
Authorities suspected dozens
more may be trapped under the rubble, but were still trying to determine
how many workers were on site when the five-story structure crumpled
Saturday afternoon in the state of Goa. Witnesses reported seeing at
least 40 laborers.
Soldiers and firefighters listened for movement
or cries from the wreckage as they worked overnight to clear the
debris, state official Venancio Furtado said.
At least 10 people
were pulled out alive overnight, but the chance of finding survivors was
dwindling, Furtado said. By Sunday morning the death toll had reached
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said he ordered a review
of the construction project, after seeing cracks that developed in the
adjacent apartment building constructed by the same company,
Mumbai-based Bharat Developers and Realtors Pvt. Ltd.
"The design is faulty, which is why the tragedy happened," Parrikar said.
Police began investigating both the building company and city
officials who approved the construction on a patch of marshland in
Canacona, about 44 miles from the state capital of Panaji. But they have
been unable to track down the construction manager and building
"Without the contractor, it is impossible for us to
know how many laborers were on the shift," said state official Ajit
Panchwadkar, who was supervising the rescue effort Sunday.
the workers had come from other, poorer states including Jharkhand,
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in search of jobs in India's thriving
construction business. One worker who was not at the scene when the
building collapsed said he earned about 300 rupees ($4.80) for a day's
work, according to Press Trust of India.
Several workers took the day off Saturday to attend a nearby state cultural fair.
rushed from the event when we heard that the building had fallen," said
Manoj Kumar, a worker originally from the eastern state of Orissa.
collapses are common in India, however, as massive demand for housing
and lax regulations often encourage builders to cut corners by using
substandard materials or add unauthorized extra floors.