New Delhi: At least five people were killed and 32 others injured after a portion of a foot over bridge collapsed outside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station in Mumbai on Thursday. Of the total five casualties, three were women. They were identified as Apoorva Prabhu (35), Ranjana Tambe (40), Bhakti Shinde (40). The two men killed in the incident were identified as Zahid Siraj Khan (32) and Tapendra Singh (35).

“We have received 2 bodies, both of them were nurses at this hospital. Body of one more nurse is at St George Hospital. 14 injured have been admitted here, one of them has been shifted to JJ Hospital for a neurosurgery,”said Dr Mukund Tayade, GT hospital Medical Superintendent.

The deadly incident at one of the busiest stations in Mumbai took place at 7:30 PM, when there was a lot of rush on the over bridge. “The incident took place as the bridge was overloaded with commuters hurrying to their homes”, the BMC Disaster Control said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 5 lakh each to the families of those killed in the Mumbai bridge collapse incident and a compensation of Rs 50,000 each for the injured people.

“Ex-gratia of Rs 5 Lakh each will be given to the families of those who died in the incident and compensation of Rs 50,000 each will be given to the injured. Besides, the state govt will provide all possible assistance for their treatment,” said Fadnavis.

The bridge which connects the CSMT’s suburban platform No. 1 with the B.T. Lane near The Times of India Building and the Anjuman-e-Islam School, was used by thousands of daily commuters rushing to catch the local trains on Central Railway and the Harbour Line. It was commonly known as ‘Kasab bridge’ as the 26/11 Mumbai attack terrorist passed through it during the ghastly terror strike. 

‘A Red Traffic Signal Proved Lucky For Many Motorists’

A red signal at a traffic junction near a foot over bridge, proved lucky for a large number of motorists who were waiting for it to turn green. Without the red signal, the motorists would have passed under the ill-fated bridge near the CSMT railway station, a global heritage site, when a part of it came crashing at around 7.30 pm.

“We all were waiting impatiently at the signal as it was red. Before the signal turned green, the bridge came down along with people on it. Had the signal turned green earlier, the situation would have been worse. It is the time when entire Mumbai rushes to CSMT to return home. We also wanted to reach home early, but now I feel relieved that the signal was red. Otherwise, I could have been injured as well,” an eyewitness, who was waiting at the signal, said.

Blame Game Begins

While the Congress party held the BJP-led Central and state government responsible for the bridge collapse and also demanded the ouster of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, the Indian Railways, on the other hand, said that the bridge was of BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation).  “We’re extending all our supports to the victims,” the Indian Railways added.

“Modi Government and Maharashtra government are criminally culpable for inaction leading to repeat tragedies – 29/9/2017 – Elphistone Stampede. 3/7/2018 – Andheri Bridge Collapse. Railway Minister’s tall claims of audit have failed time and again. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal must resign or be sacked,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted.

He also offered condolences to the families of the victims and expressed hope that the administration will take swift action and provide urgent medical help to the injured.

Congress leader Milind Deora said, “If the govt wants to send a message to the common Mumbaikars that this won’t happen again then they should immediately lodge an FIR under IPC Section 302 which amounts to murder, against the concerned officers and auditors.”

‘Strict Action Assured’

The Maharashtra CM also ordered a high-level inquiry and assured said that if there was any loophole in the structural audit of the bridge, a stringent action will be taken.

“It’s unfortunate. I’ve ordered for a high level inquiry. A structural audit of the bridge had earlier been done and it was found to be fit. Even after that if such incident happened, it raises question on the audit. Inquiry will be done. Strictest action will be taken,” said Fadnavis.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Minister Vinod Tawde said that bridge required minor repairs for which work was underway. “A slab of the bridge had collapsed. Railways and BMC will conduct an inquiry into its maintenance. Bridge wasn’t in a bad condition, it required minor repairs for which work was underway. Why was it not closed until the work was completed, it’ll also be probed,” said Tawde.

Calling the incident ‘unfortunate’, Raj Purohit, a BJP MLA demanded action against the engineer who gave certificate to this bridge in auditing. “It shouldn’t have happened. Action should be taken against the engineer who gave certificate to this bridge in auditing, he should be arrested. He should be punished,” the BJP MLA said.

Leaders Condole Deaths

Several politicos including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal and many others condoled the deaths of people in the incident.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed deep anguish over the deaths and said the Maharashtra government is providing all possible assistance to all 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,” tweeted PM Modi.

“The collapse of a foot overbridge in Mumbai is deeply saddening. My thoughts are with the families who lost their loved ones in this accident. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured,” said Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

CM Devendra Fadnavis also expressed grief for the CST foot overbridge collapse incident. “Pained to hear about the FOB incident near TOI building in Mumbai,” Devendra Fadnavis wrote on Twitter.

“Railway Minister Piyush Goyal expresses his sincere condolences to the family of the victims in Mumbai bridge collapse,” the Twitter handle of Piyush Goyal wrote.

The Congress party also condoled the deaths and wished speedy recovery to the injured. “We are deeply saddened by the news of the Mumbai bridge collapse, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives and we wish the injured a speedy recovery,” the grand old party tweeted.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted, “My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost their loved ones in the tragic bridge collapse in Mumbai today. I wish the injured a speedy and complete recovery.”

Notably, this was the third footbridge collapse in the city in the last 8 months. Earlier a foot over bridge at the Elphinstone Road railway station had crashed on September 29, 2017, killing 29 commuters, while on July 3, 2018, a portion of the foot over bridge collapsed on the railway tracks near Andheri station, killing at least one and injuring many more.