At least six people were killed and 32 injured as a major portion of a foot overbridge near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station in Mumbai collapsed on Thursday evening.
An eyewitness said when the bridge collapsed, there was a red light at the nearby signal, and that is why the death toll was not more. Another eyewitness said the overbridge was being used despite repairs being carried out this morning.
The bridge collapse, on the busy Dadabhai Naoroji Road, was the third in less than 18 months in the maximum city. On July 3, 2018, a pedestrian pathway of Gokhale Bridge over Andheri railway station in suburban Mumbai had collapsed, killing two and injuring five others.
Nine months before that, in 2017, 23 people were killed in a stampede when the Elphinstone Bridge had collapsed.
Thursday's collapse happened around 7.30 pm when a major portion of the bridge caved in, officials said. Some motorists who were passing beneath the bridge when it came down, were among those injured.
The six who died include two female nurses from Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital, both of who were heading to work for the night shift. They were identified as Apoorva Prabhu (35) and Ranjana Tambe (40). The others were identified as Zahid Shiraj Khan (32), Bhakti Shinde (40), Tapendra Singh (35) and Mohan Kaygunde (55).
Senior police officials, the fire brigade and a team of the National Disaster Response Force were rushed to the site of the accident. The pedestrian bridge, which was demolished after the collapse, connected the railway station to the Azad Maidan police station, the Times of India building and a school.
Apart from public and private ambulances, people at the spot also helped in rescue operations and were seen carrying the injured to the hospitals.
A 45-member team from the National Disaster Response Force and the Mumbai Fire Brigade were also sent. Rescue operations went on for over an hour as many were trapped under the debris, officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to the accident. “My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Wishing that the injured recover at the earliest. The Maharashtra Government is providing all possible assistance to those affected,” he tweeted.
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, announced a probe and said the guilty will be punished. He said that the bridge was audited last year and was found to be structurally sound. He has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the dead and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
Maharashtra minister and BJP leader Vinod Tawde said that the bridge only had “minor defects” and it was not considered “risky”. He said it will be probed why the bridge was not closed despite repairs being undertaken.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi offered condolences to the families of those killed in the incident and prayed for speedy recovery to the injured, even as his party demanded the ouster of Railway minister Piyush Goyal, saying he was criminally culpable.
Party leader Murli Milind Deora also held the BJP and Shiv Sena responsible for the collapse, and demanded that the auditors who cleared the bridge be booked for murder.