At least six people have died and 31 others wounded when a pedestrian bridge collapsed near Mumbai’s main train station, the latest accident to highlight creaking infrastructure in India‘s financial capital.
The bridge, which was under repair according to multiple Indian media reports, gave way around 7:30pm (14:00 GMT) on Thursday as rush hour commuters made their way into Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
At least three of the dead were women, Mumbai police spokesman Manjunath Singe said. The injured have been taken to hospital.
In a post on Twitter, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply anguished” by the accident and assured assistance to victims in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled state of Maharashtra.
The state’s education minister, Vinod Tawde, said an audit of the bridge’s safety was carried out last year. Some minor damage was detected which was yet to be repaired, he told reporters.
Deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to the foot overbridge accident in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Wishing that the injured recover at the earliest. The Maharashtra Government is providing all possible assistance to those affected.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 14, 2019
India’s National Disaster Response Force said it had sent a team to the site over fears that people may be trapped under rubble.
The accident came almost two years after at least 22 people died in a rush hour stampede that broke out on a crowded pedestrian bridge connecting two railway stations in central Mumbai in 2017.
Indian railway officials blamed bad weather for causing the deadly stampede despite commuter warnings before the tragedy of a disaster waiting to happen.
Experts pointed the finger of blame at the railway network’s creaking infrastructure, which has long struggled to cope with several million daily passengers.
Some 7.5 million passengers commute in nearly 2,500 trains daily on Mumbai’s colonial-era rail network, a lifeline for the city’s 20 million residents.
Travelling on it is not without its dangers, however.
An average of almost 10 people die on the suburban railway every day, either from falling off crowded trains or while crossing the tracks.
Commuters say investment in the railway’s crumbling infrastructure has not kept up with the city’s burgeoning population.