Massive Billboard Collapse During Thunderstorm In Mumbai, Kills At Least 14

A tragic incident unfolded in India’s bustling financial hub, Mumbai, as at least 14 people lost their lives and 75 others sustained injuries when a massive billboard collapsed during a thunderstorm on Tuesday. Dozens remain trapped under the wreckage, sparking a frantic rescue effort.

Videos captured the harrowing moment when the towering hoarding, larger than an Olympic swimming pool, succumbed to strong winds, crashing down onto houses and a fuel station in the eastern suburb of Ghatkopar. The calamity occurred amid a fierce dust storm and heavy rain, paralysing traffic and disrupting air travel at Mumbai airport.

According to Mumbai’s municipal corporation (BMC), the injured were swiftly transported to hospitals, with 31 individuals already discharged. Shockingly, the agency responsible for the billboard had no permit from the BMC for its installation. The hoarding, spanning a staggering 1,338 square meters, nine times more than the maximum permitted size for a hoarding, far exceeded the permissible size and presented a clear violation of safety regulations.

In response, the BMC has ordered the immediate removal of all hoardings owned by the agency. Eknath Shinde, the chief minister of Maharashtra state, pledged stringent action to prevent similar tragedies, calling for a structural audit of all billboards in Mumbai and the prompt removal of hazardous ones.

He said, “To prevent such accidents from happening again, instructions have been given to conduct a structural audit of all hoardings in Mumbai and immediately take down dangerous ones”.

Approximately 25 individuals, along with several vehicles, remain trapped beneath the rubble, underscoring the urgency of the ongoing rescue mission.

Rescue operations, involving fire services, police, and disaster response teams, are underway. However, the efforts are impeded by the presence of the fuel pump, which prohibits the use of gas cutters at the site.

Melissa Enoch

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