Six minor boys and girls, one of them one-year-old, lost their lives and five others were injured when a four-storey illegal structure collapsed in the Behrampada slum east of Bandra railway station around 1:20 pm Thursday. Rescue operations by the Fire Brigade in the congested lanes went on for more than six hours.
While the initial count of casualties was pegged at one, as fire officers sifted through the debris, bodies were pulled out one by one.
Officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s H East ward office said the victims were all from the same family.
The deceased are Ayesha Akbar Khan (12), Ali Nisar Ahmed Khan (3), Osama Nisar Khan (14), Afifa Sadab (1), Aribi Sadar Nisar Khan (2) and Rusda Nisar Ahmed Khan (16). The injured family members — Doulat Shaikh (50), Zulfekar Nisar Khan (20), Sakhiya Nisar Ahmed Khan (35), Abdul Salam Shaikh (34) and Islam Iqbal Shakh (17) — were all rushed to Bhabha Hospital.
Assistant Municipal Mommissioner, H East, Prashant Gaikwad said the structures in the area, including the one that collapsed, were around 25 years old. “It was an old and illegal structure, which was primarily residential. The mode of construction was incorrect and the instability of the four-storey structure is the likely cause of its collapse,” he said.
Civic officials added that some of the structures in the area, which were originally huts, went up to six stories (80 feet high). The population of Behrampada slums is estimated at over 1 lakh.
Local corporator Gulistan Shaikh from the Congress said the BMC had earlier issued notices to the residents of the slum asking them to evacuate but they refused to do so. “During the monsoon months, parts of a few of the structures had collapsed. Even then, the residents did not vacate. The structure was very weak as it was built on steel girders,” Shaikh said.