Chennai, Jul 1 UNI | 25 days ago

The death toll in Saturday's under-construction 11-storeyed building collapse at Moulivakkam rose to 27 with the recovery of eight more bodies since last night even as three people were rescued more than 60 hrs after the incident.

Police and fire service sources said of the eight bodies recovered from the debris, one was found at 0930 hrs this morning as the search for survivors continued for the fourth day today.

Amid reports of more than 30 people still missing and feared trapped under the huge mounds of concrete, three people were rescued today taking the total number to 26.

All the three were admitted to hospital, the sources added.

Officials involved in the rescue operations were battling to prevent spread of infection as foul smell engulfed the area indicating the presence of more bodies getting decomposed.

As the stench became unbearable, some people in the vicinity had vacated their homes.

"So far, a total of 26 people have been rescued," said an official of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team at the site.

Meanwhile, the PWD has declared as unsafe the second 11-storeyed block built adjacent to the collapsed structure.

The builders--Prime Sristi Housing Pvt Ltd--and engineers were among the six arrested under various sections of the IPC in connection with the incident.

Rescue officials, battling fickle weather conditions, were cutting through the heavy concrete and steel debris, facing a tough task in finding possible survivors.

An expert committee has been formed to look into the structural stability of the buildings in the neighbourhood in the wake of the tragedy.

The committee would comprise experts from Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), IIT Madras and Anna University.

It would go into various factors, including soil testing in the residential zone besides probing whether the collapsed structure was constructed before getting mandatory planning approval from the CMDA.

(Posted on 01-07-2014)