Mumbai, March 14 (IANS): At least five persons were killed and another 30 injured, including some critically, when a portion of a overhead pedestrian bridge outside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus came crashing down on Thursday.
The victims included three women – Apoorva Prabhu, 35, Ranjana Tambe, 40, and Bhakti Shinde, 40. The two men killed were identified as Zahid Siraj Khan, 32 and Tapendra Singh, 35.
The incident – the third footbridge collapse in the city in the last 18 months – occurred around 7.35 p.m. as the bridge was reportedly overloaded with commuters hurrying to their homes, the BMC Disaster Control said.
Connecting the CSMT’s suburban platform No. 1 with the B.T. Lane near The Times of India Building and the Anjuman-e-Islam School, it was used by thousands of daily commuters rushing to catch the local trains on Central Railway and the Harbour Line.
The injured have been rushed to the St. George Hospital and G. T. Hospital, besides Sion Hospital, said officials.
Politicians from several parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiv Sena, the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and others rushed to the site and activists helped in the rescue operations.
Officials claimed that the bridge was found to be sturdy after a recent structural audit and only needed a few minor repairs.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed deep anguish over the deaths and said the Maharashtra government is providing all possible assistance to all those affected.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal expressed “sincere condolences to the family of the victims” and said the railway doctors and personnel are assisting the local authorities grapple with the tragedy.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he was “pained” to hear of the tragedy, and spoke to BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta and Mumbai Police and instructed them to ensure speedy relief efforts.
On the other hand, former Union Minister Milind Deora said it was absolutely unacceptable that the bridge collapsed just six months after a structural audit and demanded a case of murder be lodged against the BMC officials responsible for this negligence.
Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan also demanded stringent action against the officials responsible for negligent administration which cost five human lives.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik condoled the deaths and wished speedy recovery to the injured.
A foot over bridge at the Elphinstone Road railway station had crashed on September 29, 2017, killing 29 commuters, while on July 3, 2018 when a portion of the foot over bridge crashed on the railway tracks near Andheri station, killing at least one and injuring many more.
After the two previous tragedies, the BMC, the Railways and other agencies had carried out a survey of all new and old railway bridges, flyovers, and foot over bridges, to ascertain any dangers and take preventive measures.
On account of the falling debris, peak hour traffic towards Byculla and Dadar and beyond was diverted, creating massive snarls across south Mumbai. Rail traffic remained unaffected.
Work on removing the debris was on in full swing and the traffic was expected to be restored on the D. N. Road towards north Mumbai shortly, an official said.