Bodies of three more persons — two minor siblings and a 54-year-old tailor — were recovered on Wednesday, a day after a portion of the Kesarbai Mansion collapsed in Mumbai’s congested Dongri area, taking the toll in the incident to 13. Firefighters and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), meanwhile, called off search and rescue operations on Wednesday evening.
Isar Ahmed Masuri’s body was the last to be extricated around 8 am, almost 21 hours after the building collapsed, officials said. A tailor, Mansuri, had opened his shop on the building’s ground floor at 11 am, just minutes before parts of it came crashing down. A mobile phone, locals said, was found near Mansuri’s body, which was pulled out from the deepest part of the mound.
“Last night some said a call was made from his phone. We thought he was safe. His body was found in the morning… there were injuries on chest,” Mohd Shamim, a local resident, said.
Masuri, a resident of Kings Circle area, is survived by his three children, wife, mother and sister. “He was the only earning member of the family,” Shahjahan Rehman, Mansuri’s relative said.
The two minor siblings, whose bodies were also recovered around 5 am, were identified as Shehzad Idrisy (8) and Arbaaz (7). A firefighter, Anil Asthik (23), who was injured during the rescue operations, was admitted to Nair hospital with minor injuries.
While nine people were injured in the incident, several others made a narrow escape. Four members of her family died, but 18-month-old Nasra Salmani survived the crash as her mother Zeenat (25) had managed to wrap herself around the child. Zeenat has sustained a back injury and is unable to move; her brother Naved (28) has also sustained a back injury and is undergoing treatment, officials said.
On Tuesday, Nasra was found within hours of the collapse, but remained unidentified for hours. “Almost our whole family was either trapped, hospitalised or dead. Nobody knew where Nasra was,” Ikra Salmani (21), the child’s aunt, said. Ikra, who had left for work on Tuesday morning, had last spoken to her family around 10.30 am.
“Last week we had paid Rs 10,000 to book a 1 BHK apartment on Mira Road. We wanted to move out from here. A night before the building collapsed, we were all playing ludo and discussing about our new flat,” Ikra said, as a video of their new flat played on her phone.
Her sister-in-law Sana (Naved’s wife) and her one-and-a-half-year-old son, Ibrahim, died in the collapse along with two other relatives, Muzammil and Zuber, both minors.
“The new flat had a separate room for Naved and Sana. Now it is of no use,” Ikra said. Masuri’s uncle, Furkan, a senior citizen, and two women, who worked at the tailoring shop, also had a lucky escape. While the two women had reached the shop late on Tuesday, shortly after a part of the building collapsed, Furkan had left its premises minutes before the incident to have tea with a friend.
“We always saw Furkan in the shop, drinking tea with Isar bhai. Initially, after the collapse, when we were trying to ascertain how many people were trapped inside the debris, Furkan was on the list,” Abdul Majeed, a resident of a building adjacent to Kesarbai Mansion, said. Locals said the elderly man had returned to the site later to help clear the debris and to look for his nephew.
“We were surprised to see Furkan. When we enquired, he told us that he survived because he had left minutes ago to have tea with a friend,” Majeed said.
Mumbai police have registered an accidental death case in the matter. “The matter is under investigation. We will also write to the BMC and the MHADA for their inquiry reports. On the basis of their reports, the future course of action will be decided,” a police official said.