Billboard collapse in Mumbai: 14 dead and dozens injured

Billboard collapse in Mumbai: 14 dead and dozens injured
Comment on the photo, The huge advertisement fell over a petrol station and some houses in Ghatkopar, a suburb of Mumbai

  • author, Tom MacArthur
  • Role, BBC News

At least 14 people were killed and dozens injured after a giant billboard collapsed during a sudden storm in the Indian city of Mumbai.

The billboard, which measures 70 meters by 50 metres, according to police, fell on homes and a gas station in the city on Monday.

Emergency services say a small number of people are still trapped underneath, and a rescue operation is underway.

The government of Maharashtra state, where Mumbai is located, ordered an investigation into the incident.

Footage broadcast by local news channels showed a huge billboard swaying in the wind before giving way and crashing into buildings near a busy road in the Ghatkopar suburb in the east of the city. Several vehicles were crushed in the accident.

In photos from the scene of the accident, emergency teams can be seen working amid the wreckage. Dramatic video footage also shows rescue workers extracting a victim from under the fallen billboard and using power tools to cut through the metal.

“We have rescued around 80 people safely,” an official told news agency ANI. He added: “There is a red car that was severely damaged, and we suspect that there are some people trapped inside it.”

Comment on the photo, Officials say dozens of people are still trapped under the rubble

Authorities also say the billboard was several times the permitted size and that the agency that put it up did not obtain permission.

A notice has been sent to the company asking them to dismantle the structure and remove all similar hoardings from the city with immediate effect.

Devendra Fadnavis, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, said the state government would provide financial assistance 500,000 rupees ($5,987, £4,767) to the families of those killed and injured in the accident.

Monday’s dust storm brought parts of the city to a standstill, uprooting trees, causing transportation chaos and power outages.

Local media reported that many flights were temporarily suspended or diverted at the city’s international airport.

Mumbai is one of many cities in India that is prone to severe flooding and rain-related accidents during the monsoon season – which is usually between June and September.

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