Workers buried under debris like earth in construction site caves

The rescue work of the fire and rescue services as well as the civil protection force, the police and the disaster management authority is in full swing.

The rescue work of the fire and rescue services as well as the civil protection force, the police and the disaster management authority is in full swing.

On Friday afternoon, seven construction workers, all from West Bengal, were buried under the ground as the ground collapsed at a construction site in Electronics City in Kalamassery, north of Kochi city.

While six of them have been removed so far, their condition is still unknown. One is believed to be dead.

The rescue work of the fire and rescue services as well as the civil protection force, the police and the disaster management authority is in full swing.

Tragedy struck around 2.30pm when a pit was dug, reportedly for a concrete column. Apparently an earth-moving machine and workers were simultaneously at work at the time.

“The earth came off during the use of the earth-moving machine and accumulated on the workers. They were working almost at a depth of 25 feet. If they had known how hard the job was, many of them would have left,” said Abid Bishwas, one of the workers at the site. While three were removed immediately by the workers themselves and the earth-moving machine operator, the others were removed during the rescue operation which began shortly thereafter.

“He is gone, dead,” said Jalaludheen, devastated after his cousin from Kolkata was trapped in the pile of dirt.

Amir Ali was inconsolable after his brother Nodiz Ali was buried right before his eyes. The brothers had arrived at the site just a fortnight ago.

“They should have put safety measures in place for such a dangerous job,” said Kabir, who came running to the site after hearing the call for help and helped rescue one person.

Vrinda Devi, assistant collector, district disaster management, said the priority right now was on rescue and the rest could wait.

Alice F. Ponder