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Mumbai building collapse death toll hits 28

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The death toll from the collapse of a five-storey apartment block in India's financial hub Mumbai rose to 28, a senior official at the rescue site told AFP on Saturday.

Alok Avasthy of the National Disaster Management Authority said in a text message there were "28 dead", while local media reported more people were believed pinned beneath the rubble.

The Press Trust of India, the national news agency, quoted an unnamed official as saying, "More persons are feared trapped under the debris."

It was unclear how many victims remained under the wreckage, but local officials said 22 families had been housed in the block owned by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai in the city's eastern suburbs.

The residential block collapsed at dawn Friday -- marking the latest building disaster to hit the city and surrounding area.

By Friday night, rescue workers had managed to pull out nearly 50 survivors from the debris of the flattened block.

Several diggers had been pressed into action to lift some of the larger slabs of concrete, allowing teams of rescuers wielding heavy equipment to take out bodies and search for those still alive.

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai said Friday that some of its employees and their families were housed in the structure and had been asked to leave earlier this year.

"The building was around 30 years old. We had issued a notice to them in April, to vacate the building, but they did not act," spokesman Vijay Khabale-Patil said.

He did not explain why the families had been asked to leave or whether alternative accommodation had been arranged.

pc/pmc/jta

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130928/mumbai-building-collapse-death-toll-hits-28-0