Staircase collapses as building sinks into ground, 10-yr-old dead, 2 injured

MUMBAI : A 10-year-old girl died and two others were injured after a multi-storeyed residential building sunk several feet into the ground in Khar (West) on Tuesday. The child was identified as Mahi Motwani.

Bhavna Vasant Anchan (50), who was injured, was admitted to the Bhabha Hospital in Bandra (west). The other injured, Surekha Bhanusaheb Lokhande (40), was discharged from the same hospital by evening.

The ground-plus-five storey building, Bhole Apartments, sunk at least 12 feet into the ground, causing its staircase to collapse. The incident took place around 1.10 pm.

The 10-year-old was pulled out of the rubble after nearly three hours. Doctors at Lilavati Hospital declared the minor brought dead. Dr V Ravishankar, the hospital COO, said, “Motwani sustained multiple injuries in the incident. Doctors tried to resuscitate her before declaring her dead. She was brought in around 4.50 pm. The final cause of death will be assessed in the postmortem. The body has been handed over to police.”

Motwani was sitting in the living room, which was near the staircase area, when a portion of the staircase along with a part of the hallway on the fourth floor sunk into the ground.

The structure had received the building completion certificate in 1975. A structural audit had been done in 2017. “The structural audit had recommended only minor repairs. Residents said that minor repairs like plastering was done two years back,” said Sharad Ughade, assistant municipal commissioner, H/west ward.

At least 21 residents were rescued after the building came to rest in a tilted position. Residents of Pooja Apartments, an adjacent building, were also evacuated as a safety measure.

“Window grills were cut, allowing trapped residents to come out. A turn table ladder was used to bring them down safely,” a fire brigade official told The Indian Express.

According to locals, repair and renovation work was under way in the 44-year-old building at the time of the incident. “There was some repair work going on in Bhole Apartments. I saw a portion of the staircase collapse and immediately called fire brigade. The front portion of the building tilted towards our building and, as a precaution, we were told to evacuate,” said Preeti Chadha of Pooja Apartments.

Bhole Apartments has about four flats on each floor with two-three bedrooms. The fire brigade planned to demolish the structure on Tuesday night. Ughade said, “The structural engineer who did the structural audit of the building and BMC’s structural engineer are inspecting the condition of the building. As per their suggestion, the demolition technique will be decided.”

Four fire engines along with rescue vans, an ambulance, civic officials, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and police personnel were sent to the spot