Mumbai billboard collapse: Search and rescue operation continues after over 21 hours

MUMBAI: More than 21 hours after a huge billboard collapsed in Mumbai's Ghatkopar area due to gusty winds and unseasonal rains, killing at least 14 persons and injuring 75 others, the search and rescue operation is still on, civic officials said on Tuesday.

So far, 89 persons were pulled out from under the collapsed hoarding, of whom 14 were declared dead and 75 others injured. They were admitted to six hospitals in Mumbai and neighbouring Thane, the officials said.

Of the injured persons, 32 have so far been discharged from hospitals till now. Twenty-five of them were admitted to the Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar, four to M J Hospital Vikhroli and three to HBT Hospital in Jogeshwari. The condition of one of the injured persons admitted to the Rajawadi Hospital is critical, an official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.

At least 12 fire engines and other vehicles have been involved in the search and operation since around 4.50 pm on Monday. Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), comprising 100 personnel, also joined the operation at 7.10 pm on Monday evening, he said.

According to the BMC official, two heavy duty cranes and two hydra cranes are being used in the operation for the search and rescue along with two JCBs, two gas cutter teams, 25 ambulances. More than 125 workers 75 belonging to the BMC and 50 to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

After the 120 x 120-feet billboard collapsed on a Chheda Nagar-based petrol pump around 4 pm on Monday, the authorities had said that more than 100 persons were feared trapped under it.

According to civic officials, the billboard was illegal and no permission was taken to install it.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde visited the incident spot late Monday evening and ordered a structural audit of all hoardings in the city.

The city police have registered a case against the owner of Ego Media and others for installing the hoarding that collapsed on the petrol pump. The owner, Bhavesh Bhinde, and others were booked under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 337 (causing hurt to another person by acting rashly or negligently) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), an official said.


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