Search for survivors ends in Mumbai building collapse

MUMBAI (AFP) - Authorities on Saturday called off a search for more survivors from the collapse of a multi-storey building on Mumbai's outskirts that killed 72 people, saying there was no hope of finding anybody else alive.

The death toll from the cave-in of the unauthorised seven-storey building was one of the worst in recent years in India. The collapse highlighted widespread shoddy building standards in the country where there is huge demand for housing.

"Rescue work is now over since there is no hope of finding any more survivors," Thane municipal corporation spokesman Sandeep Malvi told AFP.

"The death toll is now 72. About 36 are injured and are undergoing treatment. At least 126 people have been rescued," he added.

Most of the victims were poor daily wage earners working at the construction site and their families who were living in the completed floors.

Rescue efforts continued on Saturday morning with bulldozers clearing debris from the site in Thane district, 35km from central Mumbai, but were abandoned later in the day as hope faded for finding survivors.

The Maharashtra state government has announced a probe into the incident and suspended a top civic administrator and a police officer for dereliction of duty, local media reported.

Building collapses are a common occurrence in India, where a booming economy and rising real estate prices have led to a mushrooming of multi-storey structures, often unauthorised, on the outskirts of cities and towns.