4 dead in hoarding collapse | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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4 dead in hoarding collapse

May 14, 2024 08:30 AM IST

Cranes were positioned on all sides of the collapsed hoarding to lift it up so that fire brigade and NDRF forces could venture in

Mumbai: As pre-monsoon showers, combined with gusty winds and dust, enveloped the city on Monday, a 120x120 feet advertising hoarding collapsed over a petrol pump in Pant Nagar, Ghatkopar East, at 4:30pm. The heavy metal structure sliced through its roof and crashed on the vehicles gathered here, taking close to 100 people under it. While 4 died in the incident, 74 persons were hospitalised, among whom 31 were discharged later while one is critical.

Officials from fire brigade, NDRF forces and city police were pressed into service to hasten the process of evacuation. At around 9pm it was suspected around 20-22 people were still trapped. (Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times)
Officials from fire brigade, NDRF forces and city police were pressed into service to hasten the process of evacuation. At around 9pm it was suspected around 20-22 people were still trapped. (Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times)

Officials from fire brigade, NDRF forces and city police were pressed into service to hasten the process of evacuation. At around 9pm it was suspected around 20-22 people were still trapped.

Cranes were positioned on all sides of the collapsed hoarding to lift it up so that fire brigade and NDRF forces could venture in. “But we are worried that the hoarding might break halfway, causing secondary disaster,” said an official from the NDRF.

Two teams from NDRF, comprising 53 people, and 13 vehicles from the fire brigade, each with 6 people, and RPF personnel were pressed into service. They ventured between the columns of the hoarding, carefully drilling through to rescue people.

“The hoarding is too big to lift,” said a fire brigade official on site. “We will rescue a majority by cutting through the metal, and then digging to get people and bodies out.”

Soon after the incident, hundreds thronged the spot, some to get a glimpse and many attempting to help. Locals, NGOs, political party workers distributed water, ORS and food. Sayed Harshad, one of the locals venturing in, said, “My father was here when the hoarding fell. He managed to crawl out and is safe at the hospital. I am here to help others.”

30 people work in shifts at the pump, said Mani Shankar Ojha, a worker. At the time of the incident, he left the spot after concluding his shift. He returned to identify the rescued, “as they belong to the pump’s work force”.

One of the people who made it out at the nick of time was Sayad Phansopkar, who was getting a refill for his scooter. “We could see the hoarding falling, so we left the vehicle and ran. Some of the lucky ones were shielded by a big tempo that took the weight of the hoarding, leaving some space for people to come out,” he said.

The driver of the tempo sustained injuries as he and Magan Lal Malik, who was seated next to him, “escaped through the broken window and crawled out from underneath the hoarding”. “The tempo is still there, filled with clothing for my retail shop in Bhandup,” said Malik.

Not so lucky, however, were relatives of Abdul Rehman, working with him. “Six of my men were here – four managed to run, but there is no word on the two trapped inside,” he said.

“They are 21 and 23 – their family UP is calling me, wating updates.”

Meanwhile, Rajawadi Hospital presented a sight of anxious relatives on Monday evening.

18-year-old Sweta Gupta’s father Ashok Gupta, 50, who sustained serious injuries in his leg and hand, said, “He was crying on the phone when he called me. He was trapped at the petrol pump. Many in the vicinity helped him and rushed him to the hospital.”

Later, BMC commissioner Bhushan Gagarani who was at the hospital said, “According to information received, it seems around 20 to 22 more are trapped under the hoarding.”

Around 50 policemen were deployed at Rajawadi hospital. A senior police officer said, “500 policemen are working in the rescue operation. 100 police personnel from zone 6 and around 400 from zone 7 were called at the site of the incident for rescuing people. The operations are likely to go on till late night,”

In Bandra and Wadala

A branch of Umbar tree fell on the asbestos roof of a shed outside Khimji Palace, Hill Road, Bandra. Two people trapped -- Irfan Khan, 35, died while Abdul Khan, 38, was injured.

At Barkat Ali naka, in Wadala East, a steel frame-work of an under-construction parking tower for a slum rehabilitation (SRA) building, collapsed on 10 stationary vehicles, at 4.22 pm, unable to bear the impact of the wind and rain. One person was trapped in one of the vehicles and rescued by locals. While no casualties were reported, a couple of injured were sent to Sion Hospital. They are: Nafiq Khan, 44, and Ramesh Mane, 42.

Chakrapani Alle, assistant commissioner, F-North ward said, “The parking tower is being constructed with all necessary permissions. The steel structure could not withstand the force of the wind. Only one car – a Honda City – that came under the collapsed structure, was damaged.”

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