Categories: Featured News, Safety
Tags: Mumbai

Mumbai thunderstorm causes deadly billboard collapse

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Rescue efforts and casualties

At least 14 people were killed after a billboard collapsed in Mumbai during a thunderstorm, as reported by Reuters.

Rescue workers used excavators to clear the mangled metal debris in a final search for survivors.

The billboard, larger than an Olympic-sized swimming pool, crushed a fuel station, homes, and cars, trapping more than 100 people.

Rescuers worked through the night to pull people from the debris on the side of a busy road in the Mumbai suburb of Ghatkopar.

The city’s civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), reported that 75 people were wounded and 14 bodies were found.

Mohsen Shahedi, a senior National Disaster Response Force officer, said: “The operation was very challenging due to the weight of the structure and the presence of flammable liquid and gas at the site.”

Shahedi also stated that the rescue operation was nearly complete except for one final search: “We believe there is no one else stuck under the debris.”

Impact of the thunderstorm

Videos showed the billboard billowing in the wind before collapsing as a dust storm and rain lashed the city.

The incident brought traffic to a standstill and disrupted flights at Mumbai airport.

The municipal body said the agency owning the billboard did not have a permit.

The hoarding measured approximately 1,338 square metres (14,400 square feet), nine times more than the maximum permitted size.

The BMC has instructed the agency to remove all its hoardings immediately.

Eknath Shinde, the chief minister of Maharashtra state, stated on X: “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.”

Regulatory measures and future actions

Bhushan Gagrani, who heads the BMC, noted that out of 1,300 hoardings in Mumbai, about 30 have not submitted a structural stability report, which is mandatory every two years.

“We are looking into that,” he said. The BMC aims to ensure compliance with safety regulations to prevent such incidents in the future.

IFSJ comment

The tragic incident in Mumbai underscores the importance of stringent safety measures and regulatory compliance, particularly in densely populated urban areas.

The failure of the billboard, which lacked proper permits and exceeded size limits, highlights potential gaps in enforcement and oversight.

The swift response from rescue teams and the subsequent actions by the municipal body demonstrate a commitment to addressing these issues and preventing future occurrences.

Moving forward, regular audits and strict adherence to safety standards will be crucial in safeguarding the public from similar disasters.

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