Mumbai airport finally re-opens after monsoon rains

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Mumbai’s main airport re-opened Friday, officials said, three days after the heaviest monsoon rains in a decade killed scores and caused travel mayhem across western India.

Over 150 flights had been affected by the runway’s closure.

“After clearing a SpiceJet aircraft, Mumbai Airport runway is back in operation,” a spokeswoman told journalists.

The death toll from a dam breach in Ratnagiri — around 275 kilometres (170 miles) south of Mumbai — had reached 19, officials told AFP.

“We have recovered 19 bodies so far on day three of operations. Three NDRF teams are still looking for five more bodies but the operations are difficult,” National Disaster Response Force spokesman Alok Awasthy told AFP.

“We are struggling to wade through the muck and manually locate bodies,” Awasthy said, explaining how the dam breach had affected seven villages.

In Mumbai — home to 20 million people — a wall collapse on Tuesday claimed 26 lives and injured scores.

Six labourers also died in the nearby city of Pune when another wall gave way on Tuesday.

Building collapses and dam breaches are common during the monsoon because of dilapidated structures that buckle under the weight of continuous rain.

The torrential downpours in Mumbai earlier this week caused traffic misery as floods swamped roads and railways.

India’s weather department warned of “occasional heavy spells” of rain in various parts of the city in the coming days.