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How the Mumbai bridge and civic body’s claims collapsed

The foot overbridge, called Himalaya Bridge, was part of 296 bridges audited by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. The report, which came out in 2018, had described it as not dilapidated, but in need of minor repairs.

mumbai Updated: Mar 15, 2019 09:25 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Mumbai
While several people were trapped under the debris of the collapsed slab on the road, many vehicles passing under it had a narrow escape.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

A loud thud, slab collapses and chaos — this is how eyewitnesses, commuters and passers-by, described the bridge collapse near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) on Thursday evening, which left six people dead and 31 injured.

“Seven to eight slabs fell one after the other, starting from the platform side. It happened during peak hours,” said Puran Ram, one of the workers at a snacks corner under the bridge.

The foot overbridge, called Himalaya Bridge, was part of the 296 bridges audited by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The report, which came out in 2018, had described it as not dilapidated, but in need of minor repairs. “We will go to the root of this, and study how and why the contract auditor declared the bridge not dilapidated,” said BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta.

While several people were trapped under the debris of the collapsed slab on the road, many vehicles passing under it had a narrow escape. Mohammad Ansari, 39, a taxi driver, who was ferrying a passenger between CSMT and Mahim, said, “The debris fell on the bonnet of my taxi. My passenger and I were saved.”

Siraj Khan, a resident of Ghatkopar, said, “My son Zayed and I fell on either side of the divider. I didn’t sustain any injuries, but two slabs fell on my son. He suffered injuries to his face and head,” said Siraj. Zayed was taken to St George Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.

Mehfooz Khan, one of the family members, said Zayed is survived by a daughter and a son.

The dust from the collapse and the peak-hour rush delayed the rescue operations. “We heard a loud thud and rushed near the bridge. For the first few minutes, we could not see anything. A few minutes later, we realised that 15 people had fallen off the bridge. We took four people to GT hospital,” said Imran Khan, 30.

Another eyewitness, Lahu Kurhade, said, “There were more than 20 people on the bridge when a part collapsed. I saw one person crying for help and took him to GT hospital. He was a worker at the Metro Construction site near Azad Maidan”

Rajesh Das, 23, a resident of Byculla, was heading to his hometown Kolkata. “I work at Zaveri Bazar and was rushing to CSMT to catch a train. I was on the bridge when it collapsed. I didn’t lose consciousness, so I could call my brother for help,” said Das. He was shifted to St George Hospital.

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 04:41 IST