Twenty-six-year-old Abid and his friends could have simply stood and watched the five-story building in Bengaluru collapse, and waited for rescue personnel to start operations. "It was foolish bravery that came upon us, and made us carefully climb on the debris and rescue two people trapped inside," said Abid.
On Wednesday, an under-construction building at Bellandur in south-east Bengaluru came crashing down. There were 10 labourers working in the building. Three were killed and at least two others have been critically injured. All others have been taken to Manipal Hospitals and Sakra hospitals.
Abid works in a private company close to the place where the mishap took place. He told The News Minute that his friend, who was witness to the collapse, came to the office and told them she saw a building collapse.
A car stuck under the debris
"She came running and told us that a building had collapsed near the bakery. She was too terrified to say anything more. Two of my colleagues and I ran towards the bakery and there was nothing we could see because of the heavy dust," Abid recalls.
"The dust settled down in 10-20 minutes and we waited for a minute to check if debris was falling elsewhere. By this time 40-50 people had gathered," he said.
Being careful and not diving straight into the debris, the trio jumped two compound walls to get to the empty piece of land that was adjacent to the building that fell.
"Initially it was only the three of us who went inside to check if there was anyone. We first helped out one person whose leg was stuck. Then we looked for more people as we could hear some faint screams. We saw a man's back. Everything else was covered with cement," he said.
Another labourer being rescued by NDRF later in the evening.
"By this time more people climbed in, however all of them were onlookers. What ticked me off is that they were taking pictures of the man's back and telling us he was sure to be dead. I understand people are scared to do anything but negativity is the last thing volunteers want hear," he said, "Most of those people who had gathered there were busy taking videos and pictures. Some of them even took visuals of the bleeding men. Instead they could have helped us bring them outside.â€ť
"We put the two rescued men in an auto that was just outside. I think he took them to the hospital. We did not ask. Both men were unconscious by then," he added.
"I was there until the police came. We could hear one person scream for help for hours. We could sense that he was in deep pain. But it was too risky for us to move anything, and on top of that people kept scaring us. We were not even sure whether the person understood what we said, but we kept assuring him someone will rescue him as soon as possible," he said.