'We weren't wearing any safety gear'

Sep 05, 2012, 06:48 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

Five of the injured labourers were taken to Cooper Hospital for treatment; most had suffered leg and arm injuries

I have a few injuries on my leg, but thankfully I did not sustain any serious injuries. We were not wearing any kind of safety gear as such. The collapse may have been caused by leakage at the top, or owing to faulty mixing of the concrete slab.
— Purshottam Sinha (18), labourer, escaped with minor bruises on his legs

METRO Mishap
At 4.09 pm, labourers were working at the link way portion of the under construction staircase for the Metro, near Hotel Leela, Andheri when a 50-metre cement slab collapsed. Workers cementing a portion of the slab fell and injured themselves. Officials claimed that the mishap took place as the soil gave in owing to the rains, causing the pillar to collapse. 

Later, two fire engines and two ambulances rushed to the spot and the injured persons were taken to nearby hospitals. Cranes and other heavy machinery were deployed to clear the huge debris. Graphic/amit Bandre

We were working without any safety gear. When I came down I was numb and did not understand what had happened for a few seconds. Later I was rescued by fire officials and was brought here. I have severe pain in my arms and legs.
— Surajmal Mhatre (29), labourer, escaped with a fractured leg

carried victims to ambulances
Helping hand: Bystanders and other workers carried victims to ambulances. Pic/Vishal Yadav

I was on the top and suddenly realised I was going down, as the slab fell. I injured my leg and arm and am in great pain. I was not wearing any safety gear at the time of the accident.
— Vichitra Mohanty (25), labourer, sustained severe on arms, legs, head

I was also there on the top and sustained a lot of bruises on my legs. I was doing my work and saw three or four men going down, only to realise that I too was going down. Luckily, we survived, as we were not caught under any concrete slab. But the incident scared me a lot.
— Shankar Sawaiya (30), labourer, sustained bruises

— As told to Chetna Yerunkar

Doctor speaks
All of the five patients are out of danger. They have sustained injuries to the leg, hand and head. They have also sustained hidden injuries, about which we will come to know only after tests are conducted.
— Dr Pramod Nagarkar, resident medical officer at Cooper Hospital

Bystanders were the first to help
I heard a loud sound and ran towards the collapsed bridge, where I saw seven to eight people, perhaps labourers, who had fallen, severely injured. As soon as I went to help, others too came to their rescue. Later, fire brigade personnel and police reached the spot and started rescue operations.

Passers-by helped too, helping to move injured people to ambulances. Owing to construction, commuters have not been allowed to pass under the bridge. Concretising work was on since morning, and I was busy with my job until I heard the loud sound.
— Santosh Shetty, manager of petrol pump nearby

As usual, I was standing at my panipuri stall in the lane opposite the spot, when we heard a loud noise. I thought that a car had rammed into another, but when I ran ahead I saw that the entire portion of the staircase had collapsed. Within five minutes of the accident, the ambulance arrived, and with the help of locals, those who were rescued were rushed to the hospital. Around four people were severly injured and were bleeding heavily. If the accident occurred in the peak hours, there could have been more casualties.

— Pramod Poddar, panipuri vendor

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