Collapse at India cremation site kills 19

·1-min read

At least 19 people have died after a roof of a shelter at a cremation facility in northern India collapsed.

The roof at the site, in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad district, came down when people had taken shelter beneath the structure to get out of the rain on Sunday.

Many victims were relatives of a local resident whose last rites were being conducted at the time, according to reports.

"The roof at the cremation compound, over some 30 metres long, collapsed suddenly and 38 people were trapped. Nineteen people were killed on the scene or while being taken to two hospitals nearby," area police chief Iraj Raja told dpa over phone.

Nineteen more were being treated at the hospitals. The death toll could increase, as some of the wounded sustained serious injuries, Raja added.

Rescue workers were going through the rubble to determine if there were more victims, police said.

Local authorities said they had launched an inquiry into the accident. They promised strict action if it was found that officials had been lax.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind sent their condolences, even as state agencies directed monetary compensation to victims' survivors.