A multi-agency search and rescue operation has been launched to identify at least 22 persons who are believed to have been swept away after a bridge collapsed on the Mumbai-Goa Highway near Mahad in Raigad district late last night.
Apart from teams from NDRF, the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard have been called into action to undertake the search and rescue operation.
Anupam Srivastava, Commandant NDRF (Pune) said, “The first team comprising 40 men has divers, swimmers, boats and equipment necessary for rescue operations. They were dispatched at 5am in the morning. Three more teams — two from Mumbai and one from Pune — each consisting of 40 men, have been asked to join operations.”
The Coast Guard has launched a Chetak helicopter for carrying out search operations for people who were swept away from the bridge, at about 8:15am. A Seaking 42C all-weather aircraft with a diving team is being launched by the Indian Navy, said a defence spokesperson.
Additional Superintendent of police (Raigad) Sanjay Patil said search operations were on and 35 professional divers were conducting searches along with 5 boats and 2 kayaks. He added 1 Coast Guard and 1 Navy helicopter have joined search. NDRF was likely to reach by 11am, Patil said.
The opposition lambasted the government and demanded a probe into the issue. In the state legislature, NCP leader Ajit Pawar also demanded that murder charges be lodged against Patil and officials of the department for their failure. Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde has now ordered the government to conduct an inquiry and punish officials found guilty of negligence.