A day after a concrete wall collapsed at two locations in Malad East, destroying hundreds of shanties on the hillock bordering the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Malad Hill Reservoir, the death toll climbed from 22 to 26 on Wednesday.
Four more bodies were recovered from under the debris on Wednesday. Among them was three-year-old Akanksha Kurade, who was found wrapped in a bedsheet and trapped under a cupboard.
Autopsy details of several victims who succumbed at Dr RN Cooper hospital have shown that they died due to “traumatic asphyxiation” after remaining trapped under the debris for hours. Minors account for 12 of the 26 victims.
The three-year-old found dead on Wednesday lay buried under furniture displaced during the incident, said National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) workers at Pimpri Pada, one of the two sites struck by the mishap.
“She was sleeping between me and my husband. When the wall collapsed, there was water everywhere. I couldn’t breathe. Both my children were swept away,” said her mother Sharda Kurade. She and her husband took an hour to come out of the debris. Their other child, nine-year-old Abhishek, was saved by a neighbour.
At Ambedkar Nagar, the other site of the mishap, local residents found from under the debris bodies of two women. They were identified as Jyotsna Bhatade, in her 20s, and her grandmother.
“We found the bodies when we were removing the debris. We don’t know how many more are still under the debris here,” said Naresh Lad (28), an employee of a private company in Lalbaug.
Another body recovered from Pimpri Pada was that of Pappu Shah (43), a driver. He is survived by his wife and four children who live at his home in Bihar, Pappu’s relative Manoj said.
At least 72 people remain admitted across five hospitals — KEM, R N Cooper, Jogeshwari Trauma Care, MV Desai and Kandivali Shatabdi. “Patients are all stable. Few require surgery for fractures,” said Dr Vidya Mane, superintendent at Trauma Care hospital.