India ends search for survivors in Mumbai rubble

Rescue workers search through the rubble of a collapsed building in Thane, 5 April 2013
Image caption Rescuers tried to cut through the rubble as they searched for survivors

Rescuers in India have ended their search for survivors in the rubble of a Mumbai high-rise which collapsed killing 72 people, 26 of them children.

The seven-storey block in Thane, an unauthorised building which was already inhabited despite being still under construction, collapsed on Thursday.

Many people were also injured and the death toll may rise further.

Illegal construction work in the Mumbai region is driven by high demand for housing from the growing population.

A deputy municipal commissioner and senior police officer have been suspended for dereliction of duty and allegedly colluding with the builders, and an investigation has been ordered.

Police were seeking the arrest of the builders, local police commissioner KP Raghuvanshi said.

Rescue workers used heavy equipment on Friday and through the night into Saturday to try to cut through the rubble, while rescue dogs searched for survivors.

Building work had continued at the block even though four floors were already occupied.

More than 100 people are reported to have been pulled out alive, among them a 10-month-old girl. But AP news agency reported her parents had not been found.

"The building collapsed like a pack of cards within three to four seconds," Reuters news agency quoted a local resident named Ramlal as saying. "It just tilted a bit and collapsed."

One police official told the BBC that the collapse appeared to have been caused by the use of substandard building material.

Witnesses said the construction of the building started just six weeks ago, since when seven floors had been built. The eighth floor was under construction.

One local resident told the Associated Press the building was only supposed to have four storeys.

"People from the municipality used to visit the building but the builder still continued to add floors,'' said the man, who did not give his name.

Building collapses are common in India, with poor construction practices often blamed.

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