A foot overbridge near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CST) railway station in Mumbai has collapsed. The foot overbridge connects CSMT railway station – Platform 1 North end with BT Lane near the Times of India building.
Several people have been reported to be injured and are being taken to hospitals for treatment. 33 people are believed to be injured in the Mumbai CST foot overbridge collapse. Six people have been killed in the bridge collapse.
Three women, Apoorva Prabhu (35) and Ranjana Tambe (40) Bhakti Shinde (40) and three men Tapendra Singh (35), Mohan G Kaygunde (55) and Zahid Shiraj Khan (32) have died in the incident, the Mumbai Police said.
Prabhu and Tambe were staff members of the G T Hospital, the official said.
The injured were admitted to the nearby St. George hospital and the GT hospital.
An FIR has been registered against Railway and BMC officials under section 304 A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code.
A statement from the Mumbai Fire Brigade said, “Old foot over bridge walkway (slab ) had collapsed thereby causing injury. Approximately 10 people had been removed to various nearby hospitals in private vehicle before the arrival of the fire brigade. Search operations are in progress.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the family of the deceased and said a high-level committee will probe the circumstances under which the 40-year-old over-bridge collapsed.
“The injured persons will get Rs 50,000 each and the government will bear the cost of their treatment,” Fadnavis said, adding that officials found responsible for the incident will be booked.
“I have ordered a high-level inquiry into this unfortunate incident which puts a question mark over the authenticity of the structural audit of bridges carried out across the city,” he added.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reacted to the tragedy, tweeting that he was in contact with the Mumbai Police and the commissioner of the civic body BMC.
“Pained to hear about the foot overbridge incident near TOI building in Mumbai. Spoke to BMC Commissioner and Mumbai Police officials and instructed to ensure speedy relief efforts in coordination with Railway officials” he tweeted.
Pained to hear about the FOB incident near TOI building in Mumbai.
Spoke to BMC Commissioner and @MumbaiPolice officials and instructed to ensure speedy relief efforts in coordination with @RailMinIndia officials.
Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) March 14, 2019
Union railways minister Piyush Goyal also expressed his condolences for the dead. A tweet from his office said that railway doctors and personnel were cooperating with BMC in relief and rescue operations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the deaths, tweeting, “Deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to the foot overbridge accident in Mumbai. 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.”
Deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to the foot overbridge accident in Mumbai. 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.
Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 14, 2019
A 45-member NRDF team was rushed to bridge collapse site in Mumbai.
The bridge which connected the area near the Times of India building with the iconic CSMT station was commonly known as ‘Kasab bridge’ after the 26/11 Mumbai attack terrorist passed through it during the terror attacks.
The incident took place around 7.30 pm when a major portion of the bridge caved in, an official said.
Some motorists who were passing beneath the bridge when it came down, were among those injured, he added.
“Fire brigade personnel reached the spot immediately and rescue work is in full swing. We have appealed the motorists to avoid the D N road to JJ flyover section,” he said.
An eyewitness said most of the victims were walking on the overbridge on their way to the CST station when it collapsed.
“Thankfully, when the bridge collapsed, it was a red signal at the nearby road, otherwise several people would definitely have been crushed under the rubble,” said a taxi driver, who luckily escaped the tragedy.
Political blame game begins
Soon after the disaster, elected representatives and local party leaders rushed to the spot amid raging political blame-game.
Arvind Sawant, the local MP from the Shiv Sena, dubbed the incident as most unfortunate and said, “This ill-fated bridge was placed under the minor-repairing after the audit of all the bridges in the city. Action will be initiated against the responsible officials.”
Local BJP MLA Raj Purohit also visited the spot and demanded immediate action against the engineer who had declared the bridge as “safe”.
“Strictest action should be taken against the engineer who declared this bridge as safe and he should be arrested right now. He is responsible for the entire disaster,” he said.
Local Shiv Sena corporator Sujata Sanap said she had alerted concerned officials about the unsafe structure, but they did not act in time.
Speaking to reporters, she said, “I have been pursuing the issue of this unsafe bridge since long and also wrote so many letters to officials but they were ignored.”
The bridge collapse will be jointly probed by the BMC and Central Railways officials, said Vinod Tawde, District Guardian Minister of Mumbai.
“I have discussed the issue with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as well as with CR General Manager D K Sharma, BMC chief Ajoy Mehta and joint police commissioner (L&W) Deven Bharti. The railways and the BMC will jointly inquire the accident,” Tawde told reporters.
“The audit report of the BMC had found a need of minor repairs to the bridge,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Milind Deora said murder charge should be slapped on structural auditors who inspected the bridge and the BMC officers who appointed them.
“I demand that structural auditors who carried out the inspection and structural audit of the bridge be booked under IPC section 302 (murder),” he said.
“Mumbaikars feel very much unsafe in the city, considering the frequent incidents of bridge collapses,” the former MP said.
“I am not politicising the issue, but hollow promises are not going to serve the people anyway. This is the failure of the government and the system,” he added.
Social activist Anil Galgali demanded that all the bridges, inspected by the engineers who had declared the ill-fated bridge as safe, be re-inspected.
“This incident puts a question mark over the competence of engineers and structural auditors who inspected bridges in Mumbai. They should be prosecuted and blacklisted,” Galgali said.
On July 3 last year, a portion of a road over-bridge had collapsed in suburban Andheri. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had then announced a joint safety audit of all 445 bridges in Mumbai as part of efforts to improve safety.
Following the order, the railways, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the IIT-Bombay had conducted the safety audit.
The tragedy comes eight months after another bridge collapsed in suburban Andheri, in which five persons were killed.