At least 12 dead in building collapse near Mumbai, dozens injured, feared trapped

At least 12 people were killed on Monday and dozens were feared trapped when a portion of a three-storey residential building collapsed on the outskirts of Mumbai, India.

The incident occurred in the industrial town of Bhiwandi, about 40km northeast of Mumbai, after cracks appeared in it in the middle of the night, when it crashed down.

“Half of the building collapsed and nearly 25 to 26 families are feared trapped,” Pankaj Ashiya, the municipal commissioner of Bhiwandi said.

It was not clear why the building, which had 54 apartments on three floors, collapsed.

At least 20 injured people were rescued.

Police, firefighters, city workers, members of the National Disaster Response Force are on site removing debris, trying to reach people calling out for help under the rubble.

Torrential rain is often blamed for building collapses in India, with the number of incidents, often involving old or illegally built buildings, rising during the June-September monsoon.

Last month, more than a dozen people were killed when a building collapsed in the industrial town of Mahad, 165km south of Mumbai.

More than 1,200 people were killed in 1,161 building collapses across India in 2017, according to latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau.