India, Apr 27 – Two people were killed and 16 injured when the ceiling of a hospital in central India came crashing down, trapping patients and employees under the rubble, officials said.
Rescue workers smashed through giant slabs of concrete and combed through other debris to search for victims after the ceiling of the first floor of the women’s wing of the Kasturba Gandhi Hospital in Bhopal caved in Friday.
“The bodies of two persons were found when the rescue team started removing debris from the collapsed structure,” Nikunj Shrivastava, chief district administrative officer, told reporters at the scene.
He said the casualty toll was not expected to rise and rescue efforts had been completed.
The two-storey hospital, run by state-owned power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), was undergoing repairs.
Patients on the ground floor had already vacated the nearly 50-year-old building before the collapse.
“The building is old but its maintenance was carried out every year. We will conduct a probe into it,” Shashi Ranjan Prasad, executive director of BHEL, told AFP.
An ambulance service employee said the roof caved in without warning and fell “in a shower of debris of bricks and mortar”.
Of the 16 people injured, one was in serious condition.
Building collapses are common events in South Asia due to use of shoddy construction materials and lax building supervision by authorities.
More than 300 people died when an eight-storey factory complex outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed on Wednesday. Rescue work at that site continued Saturday, with more feared dead.