Chennai building collapse: Toll rises to 48

Chennai, July 3: The toll in the 11-storey building collapse in Chennai continues to mount, with the number of people who lost their lives touching 48 Wednesday, officials said.

A total of 73 people were caught under the debris in the building collapse Saturday evening. Of the total, 27 are alive and have been rescued.

Workers involved in the rescue work going on since Saturday fear some more people could be under the debris.

A person who was rescued Tuesday told officials that several people were watching television in a room along with him when the building collapsed.

73 people were caught under the debris in the building collapse Saturday evening

As strong stench emanated from the debris, rescue workers were vaccinated by the health department against infectious diseases.

Some of the residents living near the accident site have vacated their homes unable to bear the stench.

The bodies that are being recovered now are in a decomposed state, making it difficult for relatives to identify them. One of the ways to identify the bodies is by doing a DNA test.

The residential project Trust Heights was being developed by Prime Sristi Housing Pvt. Ltd. The project comprised two 11-storey blocks - The Belief and The Faith.

Most of the people trapped under the debris are said to be construction workers and some might have taken shelter in the building as it was raining at the time of the collapse, people in the area said.

Giant steel rod cutters and other equipment have been pressed into service, while sniffer dogs and sophisticated cameras are at the accident site to locate trapped people.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu's Public Works Department declared "unsafe" an adjacent 11-storey building - part of the same project. The building will be pulled down once the rescue and recovery operations are over.


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