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At least 14 killed after billboard collapses in Mumbai, India during thunderstorm

Fourteen people died and over 70 were injured when a massive billboard collapsed during a fierce storm in Mumbai. The billboard, lacking proper authorization, fell on a fuel station, prompting a search and rescue mission and calls for a structural audit of all billboards.



At least 14 killed after billboard collapses in Mumbai, India during thunderstorm

MUMBAI, INDIA: Fourteen people died and over 70 were injured when a massive billboard collapsed during a storm that battered Mumbai on Monday evening (13 May)

The billboard, situated opposite a fuel station in the Ghatkopar area of Mumbai, succumbed to the ferocity of the storm, crashing down with alarming force directly onto the fuel station below.

Video footage circulating on social media shows the billboard swaying in the storm before collapsing onto the station.

The billboard crushed the fuel station, homes, and cars during the thunderstorm, trapping more than 100 people, according to authorities.

Rescuers worked through the night to pull people from the debris on the side of a busy arterial road in the Mumbai suburb of Ghatkopar.

Approximately 75 wounded were rescued, and 14 bodies were found, the city’s civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), reported.

“The operation was very challenging due to the weight of the structure and the presence of flammable liquid and gas at the site,” said Mohsen Shahedi, a senior National Disaster Response Force officer.

Shahedi noted that the rescue operation was nearly complete except for one final sweeping search.

“We believe there is no one else stuck under the debris,” he said.

The billboard is unauthorized

The billboard, erected by Ego Media on a plot leased to the Police Welfare Corporation by the Maharashtra government’s Police Housing Division, collapsed on Monday evening. There are four billboards from Ego Media on the premises, including the one that fell.

Mumbai Police have registered a case against the owner of Ego Media and others implicated in the incident.

Despite being granted permission for all four billboards by the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Railways), Ego Media failed to obtain authorization or No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) before installation.

The BMC revealed that the collapsed billboard measured about 1,338 square meters (14,400 square feet), nine times more than the maximum permitted size.

Consequently, the BMC instructed the agency to remove all its billboards immediately.

In response to the tragedy, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde visited the site and pledged to conduct a structural audit of all billboards in the city.

He emphasized the need for accountability, stating, “The government will probe it, and the people responsible will face action.”

The Chief Minister also announced financial assistance of ₹5 lakh (US$5,987) to the families of each person killed in the collapse.

Mumbai grapples with severe storm

On Monday evening (13 May), Mumbai was besieged by a sudden and powerful dust storm.

Transport networks bore the brunt of the storm’s fury, causing local trains and airport services to grind to a halt.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) was compelled to suspend flight operations temporarily due to low visibility and gusty winds.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued urgent warnings, forecasting thunderstorms accompanied by lightning and heavy rain for Mumbai and surrounding areas.

Power outages in various districts added further hardships for residents already grappling with the aftermath of the storm.

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