22 killed in Mumbai footbridge stampede
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.
INCONSOLABLE: A relative of the stampede victim grieves at a hospital in Mumbai.
Indian security personnel walk through the scene of a stampede on a railway bridge in Mumbai on Friday.
Footwear of the victims of the stampede are seen below pedestrian overbridge in Mumbai.
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.