22 Dead, Many Injured In Mumbai Train Station Stampede
Twenty-two were killed and over 30 seriously injured in a rush-hour stampede in Mumbai this morning, when a crowd tried to leave a narrow railway bridge connecting two stations after heavy rain. Heart-wrenching visuals showed a crush of bodies on the bridge, straining against the railing. Screams were heard from those trying to escape the weight of the bodies and some were seen jumping off the bridge.
The stampede broke out around 10.30 am on the bridge between the busy Parel and Elphinstone Road stations. According to witnesses, four trains came at the same time and due to the rain, a few commuters slipped, which led to the tragedy. There were more than the usual people on the bridge at the time, waiting for the rain to end.
“Many were waiting in the rain. There were too many people in a cramped space. When people were trying to rush to their trains, the stampede happened,” said railway spokesperson Anil Saxena.
Visuals after the incident showed people on the ground, many not moving at all, and attempts to revive them. Passengers and local people were seen carrying bodies down the bridge. Footwear was scattered next to the bridge and rescuers cleared out more from the stairs.
The police are investigating reports that a short-circuit with a loud sound near the bridge led to panic and people started running.
The incident took place hours before Railway Minister Piyush Goyal arrived to launch new services. “Just landed in Mumbai. Deeply grieved at tragic loss of innocent lives due to an unfortunate stampede at Elphinstone Road foot over bridge,” he tweeted. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted condolences.
The two stations are used by much of Mumbai’s local train commuters as there are a large number of offices in the area.
Angry commuters and residents said the bridge is too old and narrow and not strong enough to take the busy sector. “It was a disaster waiting to happen,” remarked a local resident, saying that the bridge has been overcrowded for years and there have been multiple demands for more railway bridges for the area.
“I have been travelling for five-six years. It has always been like this. We have no choice but to use this bridge…where else can we go? No one listens to us,” said a woman commuter.
Local trains are the lifeline for the 20 million people of Mumbai. NDTV