Five Indian commuters, including two women, were killed and more than 30 others injured when a portion of a footbridge under repairs collapsed at the busy Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) in Mumbai on Thursday during evening rush hour around 7.30.
Initial reports indicated negligence led to the bridge collapse and loss of lives. Mumbai police have filed cases of culpable homicide against railway and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials.
According to witnesses, concrete slabs of the bridge commuters walked on suddenly shook and crashed on to the road below.
Some 130 commuters were on the bridge at the time of the crash and dozens of them fell on to the road.
A car passing beneath the bridge was damaged by pieces of falling slabs.
Railway doctors and personnel and BMC workers headed the rescue and relief operations. Onlookers carried the injured to waiting ambulances.
The bridge connects CST’s platform 1 at north-end with BT Lane near Times of India building.
Maharashtra state minister Vinod Tawde said the railways and the BMC will jointly investigate the collapse of the 35-year-old bridge.
Investigators will have to find why the bridge was not closed to commuters despite the ongoing repair work.
The bridge is managed by BMC and the accident happened just meters away from its headquarters.
The blame game started soon after the crash with cash-rich BMC saying it is providing funds to railways for the maintenance of the bridge. Railways, on their part, said BMC is responsible for maintenance of the bridge.
Amid the blame game, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his deep anguish over loss of lives due to the bridge collapse. He said the state government is providing all possible assistance to those affected.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced $7,210 to the families of the dead. The injured will be given $721 and medical treatment free of charge by the government.
Fadnavis said strict action would be taken against those responsible for the accident.
Following the collapse of the Gokhale Bridge that claimed two lives in Andheri last year, BMC had conducted a structural audit of 296 bridges including footbridges, flyovers and skywalks.
The audit revealed that 18 bridges — 10 major bridges and eight footbridges — needed demolition and reconstruction.
The footbridge that collapsed near CST was not among the 18 bridges listed for demolition and reconstruction.