Ghatkopar hoarding collapse: Search and rescue operation called off; death toll at 16

It was called off at 10.30 am on Thursday and BMC Commissioner Bhushan Gagrani made an announcement about it .


Published May 16, 2024 | 12:47 PMUpdatedMay 16, 2024 | 12:47 PM

The image of the fallen hoarding. (X)

The search and rescue operation at the Ghatkopar hoarding collapse site in Mumbai was called off on the morning of Thursday, 16 May, an official of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said.

The operation went on for 66 hours after a giant 120 x 120 feet hoarding collapsed on a petrol pump in the Chheda Nagar area during gusty winds on Monday evening, the official said.

It was called off at 10.30 am on Thursday, the NDRF official said, adding that BMC Commissioner Bhushan Gagrani announced it after inspecting the site.

Also Read: Karnataka HC expresses displeasure over compliance report of BBMP on illegal hoardings

Death toll rises to 16

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, the bodies of a retired general manager of Air Traffic Control (ATC) and his wife were pulled out from a car stuck underneath the structure, taking the death toll to 16. The accident has also left 75 people injured.

The official said that five interconnected girders of the hoarding had to be cut one by one to pull out the couple’s bodies.

Speaking to reporters, Gagrani said 16 people have died in the tragedy and the search and rescue operation is now complete at the site.

The civic chief said they have thoroughly checked the site to ensure that no more person is trapped there. Now, the work of clearing the debris will continue through the day, he said.

He said agencies like BMC, Mumbai police, BPCL, NDRF, Mumbai fire brigade, and Mahanagar Gas participated in the rescue operation and completed it “maintaining proper coordination”.

Also, action is being taken on a “war footing” to remove illegal hoardings in the metropolis, he said.

“There should be no hoardings (in the city) other than those meeting the specifications laid down for hoardings. So it is not a question of who owns them or whose place they are in,” Gagrani said.

Also Read: Mumbai rains: 9 killed, 70 injured in illegal billboard collapse

‘Specifications should be followed’

Not just the size, but there are also specifications concerning the foundation, structural stability, and air movement and those must be followed, he said.

Gagrani said structural stability of hoardings is mandatory for the ones permitted by the BMC.

Similarly, the railways has been directed to follow the specifications and remove those hoardings that do not conform to the parameters, he said.

The illegal giant hoarding that collapsed in Ghatkopar stood on a piece of land in possession of the Government Railway Police (GRP), officials had said.

Railway authorities should submit the structural stability reports of hoardings to BMC, even if they do not require the civic body’s permission, Gagrani said.

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