'At least three dead' and more missing after factory collapses in India

20 November 2017, 12:40

At least three people have died and more than 20 are missing under debris after a fire at a factory in India caused the building to collapse, according to reports.

The three-storey building, a plastic bag factory in the industrial city of Ludhiana, in the northern state of Punjab, fell on Monday at about midday local time (6.30am GMT) after the fire broke out at 8am (2.30am).

Rescue workers from India's National Disaster Response Force are sifting through debris in an attempt to find survivors, with local media reporting that at least three people have died.

Two of the victims are believed to be a fireman and a taxi service owner, the Indian Express said, with eight fire department employees said to be among those trapped.

The Border Security Force and the Punjab Armed Police have been sent to the city from Jalandhar, near the border with Pakistan.

Pradeep Kumar Aggarwal, Ludhiana's deputy comissioner, said: "So far, we fear that at least 20 people are trapped under the debris.

"The exact situation will be known when the situation improves and some debris is cleared."

Workers and residents gathered on the edge of the collapse site as workers used diggers and drills to move the rubble.

One man at the site said he feared his father was trapped under the debris.

He said: "I am not able to find my father, Inderpal Singh. We have found his ring and iron bracelet.

"He had come to find his friend after the building collapsed."

The factory, owned by Amarson Polymers, produces plastic bags.

Its website says it has an annual turnover of up to £2.3million and was established in 2006.