The plank was fitted on the underside of the skywalk
Mohamed Abu Sheikh, who runs a garment shop under the Santacruz skywalk, was ruing a slow day at work after Tuesday's deluge, when an 8x3 foot metal panel came crashing down outside his shop on Wednesday evening.
Sheikh, two staffers and a female shopper missed death by inches as the shop's roof broke the fall of the 60 kg sheet.
Given that the incident took place right outside the Santacruz railway station at 7 pm, eyewitnesses say it's a miracle that no one was injured. The deluge the day before meant the area was undeserted, Sheikh said.
The portion of the skywalk exposed after the sheet fell
Built at an estimated cost of R41 crore, the 2.5 km Santacruz skywalk is one of the longest in the city – it runs from Vakola police station to Podar School, on SV Road. Police sources said the metal panel was placed as an aesthetic fitting on the underside of the skywalk, near the junction where the railway footbridge connects to the bridge on the western side.
Speaking to mid-day, Sheikh said, "It was sheer luck that we were inside the shop. Evenings are usually a busy time for us, but because of the floods the previous day, business was slower than usual." Soon, the fire brigade arrived at the spot and cleared the mess.
Fire brigade personnel at the crash site
Police sources said this was the second such incident in the last three months. Earlier, a biker had a narrow escape when a portion of the bridge fell while the skywalk was being repaired.
When contacted, MMRDA joint project director Dilip Kawatkar said the skywalk project was handed over to the BMC three years ago, and it is the civic body that is responsible for the repair and upkeep of all skywalks.
BMC assistant commissioner (H-west ward officer) Sharad Ugade wasn't aware of the incident, but said he would deploy a team of officers to visit the site for inspection. "This should not have happened since extensive repairs were carried out on the skywalk recently," he said.
An officer from the Building and Factory Department said they had lodged a complaint at their Worli office, which is responsible for the upkeep of city skywalks. "It was a heavy aluminium sheet with PVC packing. A major accident has been averted."
Length of the skywalk in km
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