Death toll from India building collapse hits 9

Rescue workers look for survivors amidst the rubble at the site of a collapsed residential building at Shah Beri village in Greater Noida, India on July 18, 2018.
Rescue workers look for survivors amidst the rubble at the site of a collapsed residential building at Shah Beri village in Greater Noida, India on July 18, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The death toll from a collapsed apartment block outside Delhi rose to nine on Thursday (July 19) as emergency workers pulled four more bodies from a huge pile of rubble and metal, India's fire brigade said.

The six-storey building caved in late Tuesday and crashed into a neighbouring building, trapping more than a dozen people, including labourers and two families in Greater Noida, a satellite city east of Indian capital.

Five bodies were pulled out on Wednesday as nearly 150 workers using steel cutters and drills and helped by sniffer dogs sifted through the tons of concrete and metal.

"We have found four bodies since last night. The operation will continue until the site is cleared," regional chief fire officer Arun Kumar Singh told AFP on Thursday.

Police have arrested four people, including the landowner, on charges of manslaughter and want to question 20 others.

Hundreds of low-budget residential complexes have sprung up in recent years in the many fast-growing satellite towns dotted around 20-million-strong Delhi, but construction firms often cut corners with cheap materials.

Building collapses are common across India, especially during the monsoon season from late June to September, although it was unclear whether this latest disaster was due to recent heavy rain.