When residents of Bhavani Nagar, Bhandup village, heard an explosion on Tuesday morning and rushed to the spot to see 13-year-old Mukesh Patel writhing in pain, they thought it was a bomb blast.
“We rushed to the spot at Adarsh sports club grounds and found Patel lying with most of his skin peeled off. We thought it was a bomb blast and called the police,” said Rajesh Singh, a resident. “The boy was in terrible pain, we put him in the police van.”
No one realised that the explosion was a result of electric current that was transmitted through Patel’s kite string when it came in contact with Tata Power’s high-tension transmission lines. The impact of the current that passed through Patel’s body and struck the ground was so powerful that it formed a four-feet-wide crater at the spot.
Until Tata Power officials confirmed that Patel had suffered an electric shock, locals and the Kanjurmarg police suspected it was a bomb blast. The police called in the bomb squad to check the area for explosives.
“The boy was using a metal kite string and it conducted 2,20,000 volts of electricity. At our sub-station in Bhandup and Kalwa, the power tripped briefly and we got calls from Bhandup residents about the blast,” said Sandesh Deshmukh, line engineer, Tata Power.
The police said two workers employed by Tata Power to cut foliage below the transmission lines had seen the teenager flying the kite alone. “They heard a blast and saw him on the ground,” said Vijayanad Kadam, assistant police inspector, Kanjurmarg police station.
Patel is in the ICU of National Burns Centre in Airoli. Dr S Keswani from NBC said he is in a “very critical condition and his chances of survival are weak”.