BENGALURU: Two multi-storeyed buildings collapsed on a crossroad off Hutchins Road, Cooke Town, claiming the lives of five people, including a four-year-old girl and her parents, in the early hours of Wednesday. Four labourers who were buried under the debris were rescued and admitted in Bowring Hospital.
Two of the deceased are identified as labourers -- Shambu, 40, from Assam, and Kagan Sarkar, 39, from Bihar -- who were sleeping on the ground floor of the under-construction building at site 39. A Nepali family of three -- Anushka Khadka, 4, her mother Nirmala Khadka, 26, a domestic help, and father Narayan Khadka, 28, the security guard -- were residing in the basement of the apartment block, Sai Adi Ambal, on site number 40, which was constructed in 2016 and was inhabited.
Around 1.30am, residents were jolted out their slumber by a loud sound that sent many running out of their homes, to discover that the building had tilted and collapsed on Sai Adi Ambal, bringing the latter down with it. All residents had a miraculous escape, except for the Khadka family.
The Pulakeshi Nagar police have taken up a case under IPC 304 (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against the building owners, Mohammed Sohaib A Hameed and Mohammed Imtiaz A Hameed, builder-contractor Syed, and architect-engineer BM Sridhar, based on a complaint filed by BBMP officials.
Shockingly, Fire & Emergency personnel received the call only at 2.15 am. The team rushed to the spot and began rescue operations. According to chief fire officer JH Ravi Shankar, by the time they cleared the debris from the apartment block in the early hours of Wednesday, the Khadka family had died under the tonnes of debris. “We saved four people stuck under the debris, but five died in both buildings,” he said.
Rescue operations were carried out by around 100 fire personnel, including the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team and Civil Defence. The operation ended at 5pm and the last body brought out from under the debris was that of Sarkar.
Gloom descended on the area in the morning as residents of Sai Adi Ambal had to be evacuated. Both the buildings are ground-plus-four-storey structures with two penthouses, and each floor has two apartments.
The buildings were located adjacent to each other.
Preliminary investigations by the Fire department revealed that pressure exerted by the tilting under-construction building on Sai Adi Ambal building caused the second building to collapse. Two buildings located adjacent to the collapsed buildings were also damaged, officials said.