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May 17, 2024

Tragic Hoarding Crash in Mumbai: 73 Vehicles Retrieved, Debris Removal Ongoing

In a devastating incident that has shaken Mumbai, more than 70 vehicles, including cars and two-wheelers, have been retrieved from the wreckage of a hoarding crash in the suburban area of Ghatkopar. The site, which exhibited mangled metal debris and signs of immense tragedy, has now become a focal point of ongoing debris removal efforts following the collapse of a massive billboard. The calamity has claimed 16 lives and left 75 others injured.

On Thursday morning, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Bhushan Gagrani announced the conclusion of a grueling 66-hour search and rescue operation. Despite the formal end of the search efforts, men and machinery continued to work tirelessly to clear the debris four days after the collapse.

The incident occurred on Monday evening when a 120 feet by 120 feet billboard crashed onto a nearby petrol pump during heavy unseasonal rains and gusty winds. The collapse trapped numerous people and vehicles under its immense wreckage. The rescue teams faced immense challenges in their operation but managed to retrieve the last two bodies from a car trapped under a girder shortly after midnight on Wednesday.

Throughout the rescue efforts, two teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed to assist in the search and rescue operations. The Mumbai Fire Brigade also played a critical role, deploying 12 fire engines and numerous other vehicles. Although the formal rescue operation has concluded, the Fire Brigade has maintained a presence at the site with three fire tenders and senior officials, given the potential risk posed by the fuel stock in the petrol pump’s tanks.

A BMC official reported that a total of 73 vehicles were retrieved from the crash site. This included 30 two-wheelers, 31 four-wheelers, eight autorickshaws, and two heavy vehicles, all of which sustained significant damage. The recovered vehicles have been handed over to the police, with owners coming forward to claim them as the situation stabilizes.

The collapse of the billboard and the subsequent tragedy have raised serious concerns about the safety and structural integrity of such installations, especially in adverse weather conditions. The aftermath of the incident has seen a coordinated response involving multiple agencies working around the clock to mitigate further risks and ensure the safety of the surrounding areas.

The work of clearing the debris has involved the use of JCBs, dumpers, cranes, and other heavy equipment, highlighting the scale of the operation required to address the destruction caused by the collapse. The civic authorities are continuing their efforts to clear the site and prevent any secondary incidents that might arise from the remaining debris.

As the city grapples with the aftermath of this tragic event, there is an ongoing dialogue about the need for stricter regulations and regular inspections to prevent similar incidents in the future. The loss of 16 lives and the injuries sustained by 75 others serve as a stark reminder of the potential dangers posed by large hoardings and billboards, particularly in areas with high foot and vehicular traffic.

The incident has not only brought about a tragic loss of life but has also sparked a broader discussion on urban safety and infrastructure management. As debris removal continues and the community mourns the victims, the focus now shifts to ensuring that such a tragedy does not recur.

In summary, the hoarding crash in Mumbai has left a significant impact on the city, both in terms of human loss and the urgent need for infrastructural reassessment. The retrieval of 73 damaged vehicles and the ongoing debris removal underscore the scale of the disaster and the efforts being made to restore normalcy in the affected area

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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