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At least 100 feared trapped as five-storey building collapses in India

One person has died and at least 100 people are feared trapped in the debris of a five-storey building that collapsed to the south of India’s financial capital of Mumbai, according to authorities in Maharashtra state.

The building, which contained around 47 flats home to 200 people, caved in on Monday evening, a police statement said. Sachidanand Gawde, a spokesman for the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), told reporters that emergency workers had retrieved the body of one victim.

Authorities said 28 people were pulled out by rescue teams amid heavy monsoon rains and local residents had joined the operation at the disaster site in Mahad, an industrial town about 125 miles from Mumbai. The number of dead is not yet known.

Bharatshet Maruti Gogawale, a local MP who was at the site, told Reuters: “I believe about 100 to 125 people must have been inside at the time of its collapse.”

Police earlier said 90 people could be trapped.

Local TV channels showed footage of the debris, with locals and police trying to salvage the trapped people. The TV footage also showed at least one ambulance leaving the area as people surrounding it made frantic phone calls.

Maharashtra’s chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray, had assured the local administration of all possible support for speedy rescue and relief work, his office said on Twitter.

Three teams from the NDRF have been moved to the site.

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but building collapses are common during India’s June-September monsoon, with old and rickety structures buckling under the weight of non-stop rain.

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.

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