Two military helicopters and six boats of the National Disaster Response Force were sent in to rescue as many as 900 people stranded on board a passenger train about 60 km out of Mumbai on Saturday after heavy rain paralysed the city and its surrounding areas.
Hundreds of passengers on the Mumbai-Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Express, stuck on the train near Vangani in Thane district since Friday night, appealed for help with videos shot on cellphones on social media.
Passengers told news agency IANS that they had no drinking water or food in the last 15 hours and no way to get leave as the train was cut off with five to six feet water on all sides.
The railways warned the passengers against stepping out of the stranded train, because of the dangerous water levels outside, and requested them to wait for help.
By Saturday afternoon, all passengers, including nine pregnant women, were evacuated, a railway official told NDTV.
#WATCH Maharashtra: Mahalaxmi Express held up between Badlapur and Wangani with around 2000 passengers. Railway Protection Force & City police have reached the site where the train is held up. NDRF team to reach the spot soon. pic.twitter.com/0fkTUm6ps9— ANI (@ANI) July 27, 2019
Maharashtra minister Eknath Gaikwad said two helicopters will help the rescue operation along with six teams of the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF on the ground from Mumbai, Thane and Pune with inflatable rubber boats.
Most of the areas in the towns of Badlapur, Ulhasnagar, Vangani were submerged since early Saturday as heavy rain battered the region, flooding local rivers and other water bodies.
Air and rail traffic was disrupted in Mumbai after heavy rain continued overnight. Eleven flights were cancelled this morning at the Mumbai airport due to fluctuating visibility. Several flights were diverted too. On streets, residents waded through waist-deep water in many areas.
The hub of India's financial and entertainment industry, Mumbai struggles to cope with monsoon rains every year, as widespread construction and garbage-clogged drains and waterways make it increasingly vulnerable to chaos.
(With inputs from agencies)