For over 19 hours, he lay under the collapsed five-storey building, trapped in a pocket of air under a fallen pillar. Finally, around 1 pm on Tuesday, four-year-old Mohamed Bangi was pulled out of the rubble that was once Tarique Gardens — a lone face of hope for rescuers who had dug out 12 bodies since the building collapsed last night.
But just 30 minutes after the boy was carried out by NDRF personnel, with minor injuries, the mood at the site in Maharashtra’s Mahad, about 170 km from Mumbai, turned dark. Rescuers had come across the lifeless body of Mohamed’s mother, 32-year-old Naushin. By 5 pm, the bodies of his two sisters — Aisha (6) and Rukaiya (2) — were also found.
According to Mohamed’s uncle Bashir Parkar, the family had moved out to their village after the lockdown was imposed but returned “just a few days ago” so that Aisha could pursue her online classes with better Internet connectivity. (Follow Maharashtra Raigad building collapse live updates)
“His father stays in Dubai. They were with him till Naushin returned to Mahad for the birth of Rukaiya in 2018. We were staying on the third floor. After the lockdown, they moved to our village in Mandangad but returned just a few days ago because of poor Internet connectivity there. Naushin didn’t want her daughter’s studies to be affected,” said Parkar.
Mohamed’s uncle Bashir said they got a call around 7 pm on Monday about the collapse. “We were calling Naushin on her phone constantly through the night but we could not get through. In the morning, it rang and there was hope that they would all survive,” Mohamed’s grandfather Muhammad Ali said.
Mohammed was found sitting in a pocket created by a falling pillar. “We had cleared one stretch of debris when our personnel sighted the child. He was in a sitting position… our team successfully managed to get him out,” NDRF officer Alok Kumar said.
Mohamed’s father Nadeem reached Mahad early Tuesday.
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