It was not another Friday for the commuters traveling in Mumbai, due to the sudden heavy showers, four trains arrived at the same time and because the floors were wet, few of the commuters slipped, which led to complete disorder and confusion in the surging crowd. The incident had taken place around 10.45 am near Parel and Elphinstone station, as it was peak hour for the working class, there was a huge rush. According to a railway spokesperson, four trains came at the same time and due to the rain, a few women commuters slipped, which triggered chaos in the surging crowd. There were more than the usual people on the bridge at the time, waiting for the rain to end.
Elphinstone station is usually crowded during peak hours and the festive season in the country added to the intensity of crowd here, as it caters to office-goers in the Lower Parel area. The station, on the Western Line of the Mumbai suburban rail network, also connects to Parel station on the Central line. Chaos broke out at the Elphinstone road railway station after people gathered on the foot over-bridge to seek shelter from the rain on Friday.
22 people crushed to death; 13 men, 8 women, and 1 child, out of which only 9 have been identified in KEM Hospital, and more than 30 people have been seriously injured. Accident Relief Medical Equipment Train was rushed to the accident spot and immediate medical assistance was provided to the injured. Senior railway officers were also sent to the site.
Police said there is a shortage of A -ve, B -ve and AB -ve blood group in KEM hospital. A Class 4 student was among those killed. Rohit Parab was going to the Parel market with his elder brother Aakash to shop for Dussehra when the Elphinstone stampede took place. While Aakash suffered injuries in the accident, Rohit succumbed to the injuries.
S.Jaykumar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Central Region), Mumbai informed that overcrowding at the station leads to stampede. He further said, “Twenty-two bodies have been recovered so far, and 30 people are injured.” The stampede reportedly occurred at around 9.30 a.m. on foot over-bridge linking Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban railway stations.
Niket Kaushik, GRP Commissioner, informed that the exact reasons for the accident are still to be inquired into. Western Railway PRO Anil Saxena, however, said that a chaos was created as a pedestrian slipped after a heavy rainfall on the foot over-bridge and added that a probe order has been issued by the Railway Ministry to look into the cause of the incident.
“A large number of people had gathered on the foot over-bridge because of heavy rain, and when the rain stopped, people started stepping out, and a pedestrian is believed to have slipped, which resulted in a chaos. There is no valid information as such about the situation and an investigation is underway.
The Railway Ministry has given the order for a thorough inspection to figure out the cause of this stampede,” Saxena told media here. Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje has joined the bandwagon of those expressing grief over the incident. “Deeply saddened by the Elphinstone Station incident. My prayers are with the families of the deceased. Hope the injured recover soon,” Raje wrote on Twitter. Railways have canceled the launch of 100 new Suburban Rail Services in Mumbai area. Piyush Goyal was slated to inaugurate the facilities today.
Anil Kumar Gupta, General Manager, Western Railways, informed the media that there will be no change in train timings and they will be running at their scheduled times.
In the aftermath of the incident, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has ordered a high-level inquiry into a stampede in Mumbai. Goyal also announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia to kin of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh to grievously injured and Rs 50,000 to those who suffered minor injuries.