PANAJI, India (AFP) - Thirteen bodies were pulled from the wreckage of a building under construction that collapsed in a coastal village in the Indian tourist state of Goa on Saturday, authorities said.
The residential building caved in at mid-afternoon, when around 50 labourers were working on the site, Shekhar Prabhudesai, superintendent of police, told AFP.
"We have got 13 bodies from the wreckage. We expect the death toll to rise," Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told AFP.
Rescue workers using cranes and bulldozers, shovels and bare hands, struggled to shift concrete slabs and other debris to free the workers as hundreds of onlookers stood watching the rescue efforts.
The building collapse, the latest of a string of deadly construction cave-ins in India recently, occurred in the seaside village of Canacona, south of the capital city of Panaji.
Initial reports said that the building under construction was five stories.
Fire and emergency services crews rushed to the spot and the chief minister said military reinforcement had been called in.
"We will immediately arrest the builder, the contractor and municipal officials involved in sanctioning this construction site," the chief minister said.
"I am personally monitoring the situation," he added.
The bodies were shifted to a morgue at a nearby hospital.