22 commuters killed in Mumbai stampede

Mumbai: In a Dussehra-eve tragedy, at least 22 commuters were killed in a stampede on a narrow railway footover bridge connecting the Parel-Elphinstone Road stations of Western Railway here on Friday morning, officials said.

At least 24 others were injured, six of them critically, and casualty figures could rise, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Disaster Control said.

The victims were shifted to the KEM Hospital in Parel.

The cause of the stampede was not known, but witnesses claimed that a sudden rumour of a suspected electrical short-circuit sparked off a panic run.

The bridge was already overcrowded owing to sudden heavy rains that lashed the city on Friday and many commuters had taken shelter there.

Before the rescue teams arrived, cab drivers and others helped shift the injured in taxis and on two-wheelers.

The tragedy occurred shortly before Railway Minister Piyush Goyal reached Mumbai on Friday to launch scores of new services for the Western Railway and Central Railway.

Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, who visited the scene, said it was the responsibility of the Western Railway authorities to ensure commuters’ safety.

The festival-eve calamity sparked off angry reactions on social media, with many questioning lapses vis-a-vis safety and security of commuters even as projects like Bullet Trains are announced with fanfare.