Mum­bai com­muter stam­pede leaves at least 22 dead

The Jakarta Post - - WORLD - Vishal Manve

A com­muter stam­pede on a Mum­bai rail­way bridge lashed by a mon­soon storm dur­ing the morn­ing rush hour Fri­day killed at least 22 peo­ple, of­fi­cials said.

Dozens of peo­ple took shel­ter on the bridge from a sud­den downpour and the deadly crush started as they emerged all at once, an In­dian Rail­ways spokesman said.

“The in­ci­dent oc­curred as heavy rains lashed Mum­bai and pas­sen­gers took refuge on the foot over­bridge. Peo­ple at the front slipped and the huge crowd top­pled over lead­ing to the stam­pede,” spokesman Ravin­dra Bhakar told AFP.

“Twenty-two dead have been con­firmed, 14 men and eight women are among the dead. Some 32 pas­sen­gers are in­jured.”

The toll was likely to rise, a dis­as­ter man­age­ment cell spokesman warned, with sev­eral of the in­jured un­der­go­ing treat­ment in hos­pi­tals in In­dia’s fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal.

Trains were briefly halted and a for­mal en­quiry has been or­dered into the tragedy, Bhakar added.

The stam­pede broke out at 10:30 am near a ticket win­dow on the bridge that con­nects the El­phin­stone and Parel sta­tions in south Mum­bai.

TV footage showed com­muters try­ing to re­vive the in­jured by pump­ing their chests and also car­ry­ing some down stairs to street level.

Anita Kam­ble, a 37-year-old who lives near the rail­way sta­tion, said she was alerted by a loud noise.

“Women were scream­ing all around. We couldn’t fig­ure out any­thing as the bridge and the streets were over­flow­ing with peo­ple,” she told AFP.

“It was a hor­rific sight. We saw in­jured peo­ple be­ing car­ried away by po­lice.”

An­other res­i­dent Babita Kam­ble said the bridge was old and quite nar­row.

“There are a lot of prob­lems with the bridge and it def­i­nitely needs re­work and re­pair. This is a reg­u­lar fea­ture dur­ing mon­soon, there is so much crowd­ing with no safety mea­sures in place.”

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi said in a Tweet that the Mum­bai events were be­ing mon­i­tored with the rail­ways min­is­ter in Mum­bai and en­sur­ing all as­sis­tance was be­ing given.

The stam­pede is the lat­est dis­as­ter to hit the city strug­gling with a crum­bling in­fra­struc­ture and poor plan­ning.

Ear­lier this month, some 33 peo­ple died af­ter a build­ing col­lapsed dur­ing a mon­soon storm.

Lo­cal trains are the life­line for the 20 mil­lion peo­ple of Mum­bai. Some 7.5 mil­lion com­muters take the train daily, with ser­vices run­ning ev­ery three min­utes on av­er­age.

Reuters/Dan­ish Sid­diqui

Vi­o­lent steps: A stam­pede vic­tim is car­ried on a stretcher at a hos­pi­tal in Mum­bai, In­dia, on Fri­day.

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