Death toll rises to 14 in Mumbai billboard collapse, NDRF says rescue operation may continue until evening

07:52PM Tue 14 May, 2024

The death toll in the Ghatkopar billboard collapse in Mumbai rose to 14 on Tuesday morning. The rescue operation led by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been going on for more than 18 hours and may continue until Tuesday evening.

“Since the accident happened in a petrol pump we are unable to use metal cutters for dismantling the metal sheets of the billboard, since it may lead to fire sparks that may cause another disaster. Earlier, we had deployed a hydraulic crane in the spot, but that also didn’t work out well due to the excessive weight of the object, and now we are using manual hydraulic cutters for clearing the debris,” said NDRF inspector Gaurav Chauhan, who is at the spot.

“We have cleared the section of four-wheelers, from where nine bodies were recovered; now we are working at the spot from where two-wheelers used to queue up for fuelling their tanks. Therefore we are expecting to recover more bodies from this spot,” Chauhan said.

The 120-foot-by-120-foot billboard was situated beside a petrol pump at Pant Nagar on the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) and collapsed at 4.30 pm on Monday after gusty winds and the season’s first spell of rainfall lashed the city. Most of the victims were either refuelling or seeking refuge when the billboard collapsed, and more than 100 people got trapped underneath it.