At least 14 killed and 74 injured when advertising hoarding collapses in Mumbai storm

City officials say the 30-metre structure in Ghatkopar was set up illegally

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At least 14 people were killed when an advertising hoarding collapsed on them during a thunderstorm in India’s financial capital Mumbai.

The incident happened near a petrol pump in the Ghatkopar area as rain and strong winds lashed the coastal city in Maharashtra state on Monday evening.

Emergency workers worked through the night to rescue people trapped under the billboard, which was 30 metres tall. The National Disaster Response Force said it recovered 14 bodies and rescued 74 survivors by Tuesday morning.

NDRF official Nikhil Mudholkar told local media that 31 survivors were later discharged.

Many people are still feared trapped but the rescue effort has been hampered by their inability to use gas-powered cutting equipment because of a petrol station nearby, the NDRF said.

Footage from security cameras showed the hoarding hitting several cars as it collapsed.

“We were supposed to travel to Navi Mumbai this evening for a family function when my husband decided to put fuel in the vehicle in advance. When he reached the spot, the billboard collapsed,” Rama Balaji, whose husband was rescued from underneath the debris, told local media.

Swapnil Khupte, who was injured in his right eye, said he stopped at the petrol station to take shelter from the storm and became trapped under the billboard.

“We managed to come out on our own. We could hear people screaming for help but I couldn’t do anything,” Mr Khupte told a local newspaper.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said the hoarding was put up illegally. Police have registered a case against the owners, with charges including culpable homicide and endangering human life.

State Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said his government would give the families of those killed 500,000 rupees ($6,000) each as compensation.

Updated: May 14, 2024, 9:35 AM