Gokhale bridge collapse: A year on, survivor, kin recount incident
“I [now] fear even looking at a bridge and never walk under bridges,” says one of the survivors.Updated: Jul 02, 2019, 01:45 IST
At 7.33am, on July 3, 2018, the lives of five families changed irrevocably. Rakesh Mehta remembers his brother Manoj telling the family how on that fateful morning, Manoj had been just one step away from crossing over to the other end of Gokhale Bridge when the pedestrian pathway collapsed.
Authorities said the pathway collapsed due to heavy corrosion and increased weight of utilities on the bridge. Asmita Katkar and Manoj Mehta succumbed to injuries sustained in the incident while Girdhari Singh Shikhawat, Dwarka Prasad, and Harish Koli suffered injuries.
Rushed to hospital, Manoj seemed to be on the path to recovery in the days that followed. “He used to communicate with the entire family,” remembered Mehta. “However, infection spread throughout his body.” On July 29, Manoj succumbed to his injuries. “He [Manoj] has two daughters. One is pursuing Masters and the other is in the ninth standard. He was the sole earner for the family and was a part of the joint family business,” said Mehta.
Among the three injured in the collapse was Shikhawat, the 44-year-old security guard who had come to Mumbai in 2011 from Rajasthan, looking for work. When the pathway collapsed, Shikhawat fell on the railway tracks and bystanders would pull him out of the rubble.
“I had injuries everywhere on my body. My rib cage was completely broken and I had fractures on my hands and leg as well. I was in the hospital for two months and then returned to Rajasthan. My hand has not completely healed and I cannot move it properly even now. The pain does not go,” said Shikhawat, who now lives with his brother and has been unable to find work because his injuries are yet to heal completely.
“I fear even looking at a bridge and never walk under bridges. The incident is still fresh in my memory and terrifies me,” he said.