Abandoned Mankhurd bridge knocks out five-tonne crane

It took the railway authorities nearly six hours and two cranes to clear the mess off the tracks after a freak accident disrupted services on the Harbour line yesterday. A five-tonne crane that was pressed into action to dismantle the abandoned Agarwadi foot over bridge (FOB) at Mankhurd tilted onto the tracks.

Railway employees at the spot where the crane tilted. Pics/Naveen Nair, Vijay Bate

The crane operator, S D’souza, sustained minor back and hip injuries, after he was flung on the tracks due to the mishap. D’souza was rushed to the Byculla Railway Hospital. Soon after the accident, a team of railway employees arrived at the spot and started making arrangements to clear the tracks. Around 3 pm, a hydraulic crane with a lifting capacity of 12 tonnes was pressed into action. However, after several unsuccessful attempts to detach the tilted crane from the wagon, a bigger crane with a lifting capacity of 20 tonnes was brought in around 4.15 pm.

Lucky escape: Crane operator S D’souza (inset) being treated at the Byculla Railway Hospital. 

The quick thinking on the part of the railway employees paid dividends and the tilted crane was successfully detached from the wagon
at 5.38 pm following which the train wagon re-railed on its own. However, services between Mankhurd to CST were suspended during the entire clearing operation.

Rahul Jain, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Mumbai Division, said, “Once we realised that a hydraulic crane with a lifting capacity of 12 tonnes wasn’t enough, we quickly decided on getting in a crane with a higher lifting capacity.” A K Singh, PRO, Central Railway, said, “The work of dismantling an abandoned FOB at Mankhurd was in progress when the accident occurred. The crane operator sustained minor injuries.

The incident also affected overhead cables, due to which the mega block, which was supposed to be called off by 4 pm, had to be furthered a bit. During this time, shuttle services were being operated on the Chembur-CST and Mankhurd-Panvel sections. This ensured availability of services at all stations, except Govandi.” 

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