investigation into the fall of a sign which left 14 dead

investigation into the fall of a sign which left 14 dead
investigation into the fall of a sign which left 14 dead

Police in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, have opened a criminal investigation after the collapse of a huge advertising billboard at a gas station killed 14 people, local media reported Tuesday.

Local authorities on Tuesday confirmed the deaths of 14 people and 75 injuries, while rescue operations were still underway.

“Medical treatment is currently being provided to 44 injured people, 31 have already been discharged from the hospital,” the city municipality said on X.

‘Unfortunately, 14 people (died) in the accident,’ she said.

Gaurav Chauhan of the National Disaster Response Force told AFP that the collapse of the sign above a petrol pump had complicated operations.

‘We are not able to use equipment in case of fire or other hazards… so we use huge cranes to clear the debris,’ he said.

According to media reports, the Mumbai Police have filed a case of culpable homicide against the owner of Ego Media, identified as the company that installed the billboard.

The city’s police could not be reached by AFP on Tuesday morning and there was no indication that the owner had been taken into custody.

Scaffolding in question

City councilor Rakhee Jadhav said the collapse could have been avoided, blaming it on shoddy scaffolding.

‘If this sign had been correctly installed (…) there would have been no victims,’ she said. ‘This area is a marsh, low altitude, the billboard foundations should have been closer to the rock’.

The storm that hit Mumbai uprooted trees and caused brief power outages in several neighborhoods, also disrupting the rail network.

Mumbai International Airport temporarily halted flights and at least fifteen planes were diverted.

On Monday evening, Eknath Shinde, chief minister of Maharashtra state, said his government had ordered a structural audit of all billboards in the city.

His deputy, Devendra Fadnavis, said the state government will pay 500,000 rupees ($6,000) in compensation to the families of the deceased.

/ATS

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