NEW DELHI: At least three people were killed and a dozen feared trapped after an under-construction building collapsed onto a residential complex outside Delhi, officials said Wednesday (Jul 18).
Emergency workers sifting through piles of iron and concrete overnight pulled out three bodies Wednesday from the site in Greater Noida, a satellite town east of the Indian capital.
"We have no concrete evidence on the number of people present in the buildings at the time of the crash," regional chief fire officer Arun Kumar Singh said, warning the toll could rise.
"We don't know exactly how many are trapped inside. We believe there are 12 people who may be trapped under the debris."
The number of people believed trapped remains unknown, he said, adding that reports claiming families were living inside the residential complex when the collapse occurred were not confirmed.
At least 100 emergency workers were using steel cutters and heavy machinery to clear the site and search for victims Wednesday.
The six-storey building had collapsed Tuesday evening onto a newly constructed four-storey residential building, authorities confirmed.
Eyewitnesses and neighbours said one of those still missing was a one-year-old child from one of two families thought to be under the debris and who had moved in only days before.
"My friend was living here with his family since last Saturday. I spoke to them last night but have not had any contact with them since 9pm," local resident Sandesh Kumar told Indian television news channel NDTV.
"I am just hoping they are alright," he said.
Parts of Greater Noida are known for rampant and unregulated construction of residential complexes that are popular with middle-class families as housing costs skyrocket around the Indian capital region.
Many such real estate projects ignore government construction regulations, and builders cut corners by using substandard material to make profits, according to reports.
Building collapses are common across India, especially during the monsoon season from late June to September.
At least 18 people died in May when a flyover collapsed in northern India, crushing vehicles and passengers under tonnes of concrete.
Last year at least 30 people were killed and a dozen injured after a 100-year-old house collapsed in western Mumbai.