22 killed in Mum­bai foot­bridge stam­pede

Khaleej Times - - FRONT PAGE - AP

mum­bai — A stam­pede broke out on a crowded pedes­trian bridge con­nect­ing two rail­way sta­tions in Mum­bai dur­ing the Fri­day morn­ing rush, killing at least 22 peo­ple and in­jur­ing 32 oth­ers, In­dian of­fi­cials said.

Po­lice were in­ves­ti­gat­ing what caused the stam­pede on the bridge, which led some com­muters to leap over the rail­ing. Oth­ers were crushed or fell un­der­foot and were tram­pled.

“There were too many peo­ple on the bridge, and the peo­ple were in hurry and wanted to move out,” said Bri­jesh Upad­hyay, one of the many caught in the crowd. “There was no­body help­ing, it was very suf­fo­cat­ing, and we just wanted to get out of there — and fell on each other.”

One res­cuer told In­dian broad­caster NDTV that the stam­pede trapped dozens in the nar­row pas­sage, forc­ing res­cuers to break the rail­ing to pull peo­ple out.

Mum­bai po­lice of­fi­cer Gan­sham Pa­tel said some fall­ing con­crete had hit part of the bridge rail­ing, lead­ing peo­ple to surge for­ward out of panic at the thought that the bridge was col­laps­ing. Com­muters also of­ten com­plain about hawk­ers sell­ing their wares on the nar­row over­pass, which con­nects two com­muter rail­way sta­tions, El­phin­stone and Parel.

Heavy rains meant the bridge was even more crowded than usual, as some sought shel­ter from the down­pour un­der the canopy cov­er­ing the bridge, said law­maker Shaina Nana Chu­dasama of the gov­ern­ing Bhar­tiya Janata Party.

Hos­pi­tals were treat­ing 32 in­jured peo­ple, in­clud­ing 19 women and 13 men.

Kishore Thakkar, an­other wit­ness, said the bridge be­came crowded as peo­ple stopped, wait­ing for the rain to ease. “But then came a heavy push, caus­ing some peo­ple to fall down and get crushed by the surge of pas­sen­gers.” —

Due to sud­den rain, peo­ple waited at the sta­tion. When the rain stopped, there was chaos as peo­ple rushed out,” Anil Sax­ena, Rail­ways spokesper­son

The stam­pede on the foot over­bridge at El­phin­stone Road rail­way sta­tion is a pub­lic mas­sacre of the peo­ple by the gov­ern­ment.” San­jay Raut, Shiv Sena MP

At least 22 peo­ple were killed and over 30 in­jured in a rush hour stam­pede on a nar­row foot over­bridge link­ing El­phin­stone Road and Parel sub­ur­ban sta­tions dur­ing heavy rain on Fri­day morn­ing, of­fi­cials said.

The tragedy took place around 10.40am when the bridge, used by mil­lions of peo­ple to com­mute to the com­mer­cial area with high-end cor­po­rate and me­dia of­fices, was heav­ily crowded, a po­lice of­fi­cial said.

Im­ages of peo­ple trapped on the stairs and the nar­row decades-old bridge did the rounds of so­cial me­dia. Videos from those on the plat­form watch­ing help­lessly as the tragedy un­folded, with some at­tempt­ing to make a per­ilous es­cape by climb­ing over the rail­ing, were also cir­cu­lated.

As con­do­lences came in from Pres­i­dent Ram Nath Kovind, Vi­cePres­i­dent M Venka­iah Naidu and Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, of­fi­cials started look­ing into the rea­sons for the tragedy.

“The FOB (Foot over­bridge) of El­phin­stone sta­tion was over­crowded and due to rain it got slip­pery too. This caused panic and re­sulted in the stam­pede,” said Atul Shri­vas­tav, in­spec­tor gen­eral of the Rail­way Pro­tec­tion Force.

“Due to sud­den rain, peo­ple waited at the sta­tion. When the rain stopped, there was chaos as peo­ple rushed out,” added rail­ways spokesper­son Anil Sax­ena.

Po­lice also sus­pect that a short­cir­cuit with a loud sound near the bridge led to panic and peo­ple started run­ning, re­sult­ing in the stam­pede.

Eight women and a young boy were amongst those killed, the Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion’s (BMC) dis­as­ter man­age­ment cell chief Ma­hesh Narvekar said, adding that five of the in­jured were crit­i­cal. Rail­ways Min­is­ter Piyush Goyal, who reached Mum­bai this morn­ing, can­celled his pro­gramme to in­au­gu­rate 100 ad­di­tional sub­ur­ban ser­vices in Mum­bai and an­nounced a high-level in­quiry.

“Sit­u­a­tion in Mum­bai is be­ing con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tored. @PiyushGoyal is in Mum­bai tak­ing stock of the sit­u­a­tion & en­sur­ing all as­sis­tance,” Modi said in a tweet.

Goyal an­nounced a com­pen­sa­tion of Rs500,000 to the kin of each of the de­ceased, Rs100,000 for the griev­ously in­jured and Rs50,000 for those with mi­nor in­juries.

The Ma­ha­rash­tra gov­ern­ment also an­nounced a com­pen­sa­tion of Rs500,000 to the fam­i­lies of those killed. Ac­cord­ing to the BMC’s dis­as­ter con­trol room, 22 peo­ple were brought dead to the KEM Hos­pi­tal in Parel. The in­jured per­sons were taken to var­i­ous hos­pi­tals, an of­fi­cial said. Of­fi­cials of the rail­way, po­lice and fire bri­gade rushed to the site to carry out res­cue op­er­a­tion.

“... it seems that dur­ing heavy rain, un­ex­pected crowd (of pas­sen­gers) gath­ered on the north foot over­bridge that con­nects El­phin­stone Road and Parel sta­tions,” WR’s Chief Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer Ravin­der Bhakar said.

“Though se­cu­rity per­son­nel were de­ployed to reg­u­late the crowd on the stair­cases of the plat­form, ex­ces­sive crowd led to the un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to Bhakar, it was tech­ni­cally not a “rail-re­lated” in­ci­dent, but the vic­tims would be com­pen- sated ac­cord­ing to rules of the rail­ways.

Soon af­ter the stam­pede, an ac­ci­dent re­lief med­i­cal equip­ment train rushed to the spot and med­i­cal as­sis­tance was pro­vided to the vic­tims, a rail­way of­fi­cial said.

Chief Min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis, who is in Sin­ga­pore for an investor in­ter­ac­tion, added in a tweet that an in­quiry would be con­ducted by the Ma­ha­rash­tra gov­ern­ment and the Min­istry of Rail­ways and nec­es­sary strict ac­tion would be taken.

The Mum­bai po­lice is­sued an ap­peal to do­nate blood.

“A -ve, B -ve and AB -ve blood is re­quired in KEM hos­pi­tal for those in­jured in #El­phin­stone stam­pede. Please con­tact the blood bank at KEM,” the Mum­bai po­lice tweeted.

Mean­while, in a blis­ter­ing at­tack on its ally the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Shiv Sena on Fri­day termed the stam­pede in which 22 per­sons were killed on a nar­row foot over­bridge here as a “pub­lic mas­sacre”.

Shiv Sena MP San­jay Raut told the me­dia: “The stam­pede on the foot over­bridge at El­phin­stone Road rail­way sta­tion is a pub­lic mas­sacre of the peo­ple by the gov­ern­ment.”

He de­manded that Rail­way Min­is­ter Piyush Goyal and se­nior rail­way of­fi­cials must be booked and pros­e­cuted for cul­pa­ble homi­cide.

Raut also slammed the BJP for the much-touted Bul­let Train project and said com­muters’ safety and se­cu­rity must be ac­corded greater pri­or­ity. An­other Sena MP, Rahul She­wale, said he wrote to for­mer Rail­way Min­is­ter Suresh Prabhu in April 2015 de­mand­ing that the width of the over­bridge where the stam­pede oc­curred should be widened for com­muters’ safety. —

Naren­dra Modi Prime min­is­ter my deep­est con­do­lences to all those who have lost their lives due to the stam­pede in mum­bai. prayers with those who are in­jured.

The FOB (Foot over­bridge) of El­phin­stone sta­tion was over­crowded and due to rain it got slip­pery too. This caused panic and re­sulted in the stam­pede,” Atul Shri­vas­tav, in­spec­tor gen­eral of the RPF.

— Reuters

IN­CON­SOLABLE: A rel­a­tive of the stam­pede vic­tim grieves at a hos­pi­tal in Mum­bai.

— AFP

In­dian se­cu­rity per­son­nel walk through the scene of a stam­pede on a rail­way bridge in Mum­bai on Fri­day.

— Reuters

Footwear of the vic­tims of the stam­pede are seen be­low pedes­trian over­bridge in Mum­bai.

— AFP

Rel­a­tives of vic­tims in­jured stam­pede on a rail­way bridge cry as they wait at a hos­pi­tal in Mum­bai

Sept 29. 2017: A stam­pede at a crowded foot­bridge con­nect­ing two sta­tions in Mum­bai kills 22 peo­ple.

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