Three persons were reportedly killed and 25 were injured when the first-storey floor of the female surgical ward of Kasturba Hospital in BHEL township collapsed on Friday evening. Most of those injured were female patients undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Rescue personnel seen at the site of the hospital celing collapse in Bhopal. (TV grab)
One of the deceased has been identified by the district administration as Arun Sisodia, 24, who had gone to the hospital to see his ailing mother. The condition of 11 of those injured was stated to be critical and they have been shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the same hospital. One of them is a four-year-old child.
While the police told HT the above-mentioned casualty figures, Bhopal district collector Nikunj Shrivastava officially confirmed just one death, till the time of going to press. While most of those trapped under the debris have been extricated, the collector did not rule out the possibility of more people under the rubble.
The Kasturba Hospital is 43 years old and as per BHEL, which administers it, has been maintained well.
There were 15 patients and nine attendants of the hospital in the ward when the floor went crumbling down on the ground level where construction work was going on. The terrible accident occurred at roughly 4.30 pm, when patients had visitors and family members over for the designated ‘visiting hour’. While hospital authorities could inform the assembled reporters about patients’ details, they had no idea of the condition or number of visitors who were trapped under the debris.
“All the 15 patients and nine attendants from the hospital present in the ward have been rescued. As far as I know, there has been just one death. Two more are very critical. One has head injury and the other has sustained multiple injuries and is unconscious,” Shrivastava told reporters.
Mohd Nasim, who had come to the hospital to see his grandmother admitted in the surgical ward, recounted: “The ground floor is empty and repairing work is going on.
On the first floor, I was standing outside the ward when floor caved in and then the entire ward almost came crashing down. There was a wall of dust from the debris.”
The PRO of BHEL, Vinodanand Jha, said, “An intensive care unit is being constructed on the ground floor of the building. The work has been going on for six months, but I can’t say what exactly led to this incident.” BHEL executive director SR Prasad said, “Our focus is on rescue operations at present but an inquiry would definitely be conducted later on to ascertain the reasons for this incident. It’s an old building constructed in 1968 but maintenance work is carried out every year and such an incident should not have taken place.”
The state government has declared an exgratia of Rs. 2 lakh to kin of those killed in the incident and Rs. 50,000 to families of those injured. Persons injured in the incident would also be provided free treatment, the collector said.