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‘At least three dead’ after factory collapses

Rescue workers are trying to find survivors under the debris.
Image: Rescue workers are trying to find survivors following the collapse of the building in India

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 plastics factory caught fire and collapsed
Image: The plastics factory collapsed following a fire

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.

Residents looked on as rescue workers tried to find survivors and bodies
Image: The factory, owned by Amarson Polymers, produces plastic bags

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.

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    Austria is set to become the only western European country with a far-right party in government.

    The head of the conservative People’s Party (OVP), Sebastian Kurz, has struck a coalition deal with the far-right Freedom Party (FPO).

    The FPO will take charge of the foreign, interior and defence ministries, among others, while its leader, 48-year-old Heinz-Christian Strache, will be deputy chancellor.

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    When the OVP won Austria’s election on 15 October it did so with a hard line on immigration – a policy which often overlapped with that of the FPO.

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    Mr Kurz held a joint news conference with Mr Strache and told reporters: “Our aims are quite clear.

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    The two men presented their agreement to Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, a former Greens leader who narrowly beat the FPO in a presidential vote in 2015.

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