No less than 22 people have been feared dead with 32 others injured in a stampede at a train station during morning rush hour in the Indian financial hub of Mumbai, according to Deepak Deoraj, spokesman for the Mumbai police department.
The deadly stampede occured around 10:30 a.m. local time Friday on a footbridge at Prabhadevi train station, formerly known as Elphinstone station, Anil Saxena, spokesman for India’s Ministry of Railways told local media.
“The incident occurred as heavy rains lashed Mumbai and passengers took refuge on the foot overbridge. People at the front slipped and the huge crowd toppled over, leading to the stampede,” Indian Railways spokesman Ravindra Bhakar told AFP news agency.
“Twenty-two dead have been confirmed, 14 men and eight women… Some 32 passengers are injured.”
Police said the staircase on the bridge became overcrowded amid surging crowds and people not exiting due to the heavy downpour.
“Some witnesses say the stampede was triggered due to rumours in the crowd that the bridge had collapsed or people had got electrocuted, others say women slipped off the stairs, setting off panic in the crowd,” police officer, Sunil Deshmukh, said.
“There was chaos all around on the narrow bridge, people jumped over each other and many were seriously injured.’’
In all, 22 people had died, Regional Health Minister, Deepak Sawant, said.
“Some 32 more were hospitalised, and with many in a serious condition, the death toll could increase,” he added.
Meanwhile, in a message posted to his official social media account, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his “deepest condolences to all those who have lost their lives due to the stampede in Mumbai.”
My deepest condolences to all those who have lost their lives due to the stampede in Mumbai. Prayers with those who are injured.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 29, 2017
This is the second tragedy in less than four weeks to hit the western metropolis of more than 18 million. A building collapsed in the city following a week of heavy rains at the end of August, killing more than 33 people.