Twenty two people were killed and over 30 seriously injured in a rush-hour stampede after heavy rain in Mumbai this morning, as a crowd tried to leave a narrow foot over-bridge connecting two busy train stations.
The stampede broke out around 10.30 am near a ticket window on the bridge between the 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 chaos in the surging crowd. There were more than the usual people on the bridge at the time, waiting for the rain to end.
Visuals showed people on the ground, many not moving at all, and attempts to revive them with water and first aid. Passengers and local people were seen carrying the injured down the bridge. A pile of footwear was lying next to the bridge and rescuers were seen clearing out more from the stairs. The police were trying to control the crowd of commuters.
“It happened on the narrow staircase. All the injured were rushed to the nearest hospitals,” said police officer Niket Kaushik.
Praveen Bangar, a senior medical officer at the KEM hospital near the accident site, said 15 people were brought dead.
The two stations are used by much of Mumbai’s local train commuters as there are a large number of offices in the area.
Asked what the trigger was, a western railways official said: “Because of the rain, two trains came here, two on central line. Four trains came at the same time.”
Elphinstone station is usually crowded during peak hours as it caters to office-goers in the Lower Parel area. The station, on the Western Line of the Mumbai suburban rail network, also connects to Parel station on the Central line.
Reports suggest there have been calls for repairing the bridge, which 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 station has been overcrowded and decrepit for years.
12.55 pm: President of India Ram Nath Kovind reacted to the Elphinstone stampede. “Anguished by the loss of lives in the stampede in Mumbai. Condolences to the bereaved families; prayers with injured,” he wrote on Twitter.
12.47 pm: Expressing his condolences on the Elphinstone stampede, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said an “inquiry should be instituted immediately and action must be taken against those responsible for this tragedy.” He also said the government should announce a compensation of 10 lakhs to next of kin of the deceased and 1 lakh to the injured.
12.45 pm: One of the deceased has been identified as Sachin Kadam from Dombivali. His office is in Parel.
12.41 pm: Railway spokesperson Anil Saxena said 22 people had been killed in the stampede and 27 were injured.
12. 37 pm: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal is reportedly on his way to the Elphinstone Road railway station.
12.35 pm: “Due to sudden rain, people were waiting at the station. When the rain stopped there was chaos to go out, stampede occurred,” A Saxena, DGPR, Railway was quoted as saying by ANI.
12.25 pm: Police suspect a short-circuit with a loud sound near the foot overbridge led to panic and people started running, resulting in the stampede, reports news agency PTI.
12.20 pm: Death toll in the Elphinstone Road station stampede goes up to 22. Among the dead, four were women and 18 men.
12.15 pm: “Government not able to provide basic facilities and services at stations but dreams of bullet trains,”Shiv Sena MLA Ajay Choudhary said while reacting on Mumbai stampede.
12.09 pm: In a video shared on social media, people can be seen caught in the stampede. Initial photos from the scene show people lying on the ground after they jumped from the bridge to save themselves.
11.43 am: Senior Railway officers have reached Elphinstone station to monitor relief work.
11.40 am: Western Railway PRO says 30 people have been injured in the Elphinstone railway station stampede.
11.36 am: The Elphinstone stampede took place at around 11 am. Accident relief and medical equipment have been made available for affected people.
11.33 am: The injured have been taken to KEM hospital and other hospitals in the nearby areas. The names of the deceased have not been revealed yet.
11.30 am: Reports suggest that heavy rains triggered the stampede at Elphinstone railway station. Source Indianexpress.com