PANAJI, India (AP) — Rescuers found two more bodies overnight under a massive pile of broken concrete left when a residential building collapsed in southern India over the weekend, raising the death toll to at least 17 workers, a lawmaker said Monday.
Local legislator Ramesh Tawadkar said rescuers have so far recovered 23 survivors, pulling the last from the wreckage late Sunday in the state of Goa. But there was little hope of finding any more people alive in the rubble two days after the collapse.
Police said they were unable to determine how many workers were on site when the five-story structure, which was under construction, crumpled Saturday because they could not reach the builder or contractor, who are suspected of fleeing.
A local government official, Ajit Panchwadkar, said that unless the contractor was traced or the debris cleared they would know how many were on the site. The construction was being done on a patch of marshland in Canacona, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) from the state capital of Panaji.
Building collapses are common in India, as massive demand for housing and lax regulations often encourage builders to cut corners by using substandard materials or add unauthorized extra floors.