Western Railway blames rain, rumour for Elphinstone station stampede

Oct 11, 2017, 17:41 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar

It was the deadly chemistry of heavy rain, people from the road outside taking shelter under the bridge and a crowd of commuters, baskets and bags that led to the Elphinstone stampede that cost 23 people their lives on September 29

It was the deadly chemistry of heavy rain, people from the road outside taking shelter under the bridge and a crowd of commuters, baskets and bags that led to the Elphinstone stampede that cost 23 people their lives on September 29. Railway officials in a report said that the bridge was structurally sound with no damage. The five-member Western Railway committee, including safety officials, constituted to present a report on the incident, collected statements of more than 30 eyewitnesses and survivors to come to this conclusion.

The September 29 incident led to a wave of anger among commuters over poor railway infrastructure

Teams of railway officials also examined photographs and video clips taken by those during the incident.

According to the report, the sudden rain led to people taking shelter under the foot overbridge, blocking free movement of commuters on the bridge. This led to a crowd piling up near the booking office and on the bridge. Calls to move ahead and the word 'phool' (flower) being heard as 'pul' (bridge) when a basket of flowers fell, led to panic and the resultant stampede.

Locals seen trampling over bodies on September 29

The railways have said they will now widen the foot overbridge and exit/entry points near the booking office and monitor people, who carry heavy loads on their heads during rush hour so that commuter movement is not hindered.

The report was submitted to the General Manager Western Railway for further action.

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