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-storey structure crumpled on Saturday afternoon in the state of Goa. Witnesses reported seeing at least 40 workers.
Soldiers and firefighters listened for movement or cries from the wreckage as they worked overnight to clear 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 yesterday afternoon, the death toll had reached 15, according to the state government.
Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar said he ordered a review of the construction project, after seeing cracks develop 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 70km from the state capital of Panaji. But they have been unable to find the construction manager and contractor.
Many of the workers had come from other, poorer states, including Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, in search of jobs in India’s thriving construction business.