Building collapse: Teenager rescued, Death toll rises to 9

JALANDHAR, Apr 18: A teenager was today miraculously pulled out alive from the rubble, two days after a factory building collapsed here, as rescuers raced against time to extricate those trapped while three more bodies were recovered, taking the death toll to nine.
“Sixty-one people have been rescued, including one today and nine bodies have been retrieved from the debris,” District Magistrate Priyank Bharti said, adding still more people are feared trapped.
Sanjeev Kumar, 18, a resident of Sidhwalia in Bihar who was recruited in the factory on January 10 this year, was rescued today from the debris.
Kumar said at the time of mishap, he and two other colleagues were working near a machine. “As the building collapsed, I was trapped beneath the machine, which perhaps saved my life,” he told PTI.
“I had lost all hope as all my cries for help went unnoticed in the first 48 hours,” he said.
In the wee hours today, he spotted a small hole and shouted for help. “I was fortunate that the rescue team heard my voice and came to my help,” Kumar said.
Through the small hole, the rescuers passed biscuits and water to Kumar but he soon fainted. “By the time I regained consciousness, they had pulled me out of the rubble.”
Kumar has suffered minor injuries in the mishap, in-charge of the trauma centre Dr M B Bali said.
Yesterday, six bodies had been recovered and today three more were retrieved, the DM said. “Out of the nine deceased, six people have been identified—four belong to Bihar and two are from West Bengal,” he said.
Of the sixty-one rescued, some have already been discharged after medical aid and remaining are still admitted at Sadar Hospital.
“Our priority is to rescue people who are still alive and the required efforts in the regard are being made,” he said.
The three-storey building collapsed at around midnight on Sunday in Focal Point area here.
“We have to remain extremely cautious while removing the debris because a slight mistake can prove fatal for people trapped beneath,” Assistant Commandant of National Disaster Response Force Musafir said.
It may take two more days to clear the rubble, he said.
A case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder has been registered against the factory owner, who was arrested on Monday.
The state government has announced a compensation of Rs two lakh each to the kin of the deceased. It also announced a compensation of Rs 65,000 each to the seriously injured and Rs 45,000 each to injured persons. (PTI)


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