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‘Giant’ billboard uprooted in dust storm in Mumbai, 12 killed

Patrick D Costa

At least 12 people were killed and at least 60 were injured after a dust storm blew down a billboard in Mumbai

At least 12 people were killed and at least 60 were injured after a dust storm blew down a billboard in Mumbai, the capital of India’s Maharashtra state. Police said that many people were buried under the billboard. 67 people were rescued alive.

It has been possible to recover the bodies of eight of the victims. Gaurav Chauhan, inspector of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) of India’s National Disaster Response Force, said that the bodies of the remaining 4 people could not be recovered due to logistical reasons.

Around 4:30 pm on Monday, a strong storm suddenly blackened the sky in Mumbai. Before you know it, the dust storm starts. A huge metal advertisement board was uprooted in Ghatkopar area due to the storm. Many were buried under the collapsed billboard.

Videos that have surfaced of the scene—showing the advertising billboard collapsing on a petrol pump; Due to which the roof of the petrol pump collapsed. Some cars standing at the petrol pump were also crushed. The metal structure of the billboard penetrated the roofs of many cars. After calculating the size, the police said that many people may be buried under the billboard.

NDRF personnel were able to remove most of the debris after about three hours of effort. Among the 8 dead persons recovered, 3 were found dead on the spot. Later, 5 more people died on the way to the hospital.

Gaurav Chauhan said, “We have not recovered the bodies of four people yet. Because they are located near the petrol pump, there is a risk of fire or such an accident if rescue operations are started.

All of the 67 people who were rescued alive were more or less injured. Many had to be admitted to the hospital.

State Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has promised Rs 5 lakh to each family of those who died in this sudden accident. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the state government of Maharashtra has ordered a detailed investigation.

A warning was issued by the Maharashtra Meteorological Department shortly before the storm hit on Monday afternoon. Residents of Mumbai, Palghar and Thane were warned of any major change in weather. A few minutes later, the glittering city on the shores of the Arabian Sea was destroyed by the storm. The entire city turns gray in dust. At one point the visibility drops to almost zero.

As a result, all traffic in the city came to a standstill. The storm also uprooted many trees and electricity poles in Mumbai. Rail and metro services also stopped. Meanwhile, the billboard in Ghatkopar also collapsed due to the storm.

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