Mustafa Chaphekar and his family members, all residents of the ill-fated building that collapsed in Raigad, had a narrow escape as they rushed out just before the structure came crashing down.

They had barely reached the gate of the five-storey building when they saw some pillars of the ground floor breaking into pieces, Mr. Chaphekar said. The building, which had around 40 flats, collapsed on Monday evening.

According to the police, a man, who was not a resident of the building, died of cardiac arrest on Monday night after he was hit by a stone from the falling building, and 19 people were still missing.

Mr. Chaphekar said he was at home when he suddenly felt “tremors”, following which he ran out into the balcony of his flat and asked others what was happening. Some people asked him to come out as the building was on the verge of collapse, he said.

Mr. Chaphekar then quickly rushed out along with his family members. Before leaving, he knocked the door of his neighbour and alerted him, he said. “As my family members and I left the building, I heard a loud sound. When I turned back, I saw two-three pillars of the ground floor breaking into pieces,” he said.

Mr. Chaphekar said since he and his family came to live in the building in 2013-14, there were issues related to substandard work and incidents of falling of plaster. The problems increased in the next two years, following which the residents had a meeting with the builder, but he was reluctant to carry out repair work, he said. “The builder told us that he had constructed the building and given it to us, now it was up to us what to do with it,” he said.

Riyaz Mulla, a relative of one of the missing families, said the incident shocked him. His brothers wife and three children, aged between 1.5 and 5 years, were still missing, a teary-eyed Mr. Mulla said. His brother worked in Dubai and left from there to reach home after getting to know about the incident, he said.

A day after the building collapsed, rescue personnel continued to sift through the rubble in search of survivors, while police said 19 people are still missing. An official at the Mantralaya State Control Room of the State Disaster Management Unit said the Tarek Garden building collapsed around 7 p.m.

There were around 40 flats in the building, the official said, adding those rescued were shifted to a local hospital at Mahad, which is around 170 km from Mumbai.

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