Mumbai: A heaving crowd, so oppressive that people try to escape it either by jumping or by climbing over a railing, is on a mobile phone video of the stampede that broke out at a railway bridge at Mumbai's Elphinstone station this morning, leaving 22 dead and more than 30 wounded.
- Crowd tries to climb down the bridge as 4 trains arrive at the same time
- Some climb out to escape the crush, preferring to hang on to railings
- People watch the crowd with growing horror and shout
The tragedy was filmed on phones from a platform opposite the bridge connecting the Elphinstone Road and Parel stations. In one video, a massive crowd was seen trying to climb down the bridge after four trains arrived at the same time. Arms rose helplessly from the barely-moving mass; some men climbed out to escape the crush, preferring to hang precariously on to the railings.
People watched the crowd with growing horror and shouted, perhaps sensing a tragedy about to happen.
Those who watched the crowd shouted in alarm, perhaps sensing a tragedy about to happen.
The moments just after the stampede have also been caught in extremely disturbing visuals. Bodies strained against the railing and people tried to climb out, their feet on somebody's face or limbs. At a closer look, men and women stuck in the pile appeared lifeless, their arms limp, blood on their clothes.
Shruti Lokre, who survived the crush, said in a series of tweets: "Stampede at Parel Station. I survived. I don't know how… Before I realised, I was a part of that stampede."
Ms Lokre said she couldn’t believe she had come out alive. "The only way to not give up on hope was to give hope to someone else. It's gonna be alright, we will make it. Breathe, keep breathing, look that guy is helping us. Don't worry, I am here. We are in it together. Just few more minutes. (sic)," she wrote.
The bridge was already overcrowded after the rain and many commuters had taken shelter there. Witnesses said trains were rolling in and some people wanted to get out of the station but others had stopped, preferring to wait till the rain ended.
The narrow bridge is always crowded as it receives much of Mumbai's commuter traffic. Over the years, there have been demands for more bridges or at least a better one, but commuters say no one listened. Today, the stampede reportedly started when after a sudden heavy downpour, a few in the crowd slipped. The police are also investigating reports that a loud noise after a short-circuit caused panic and triggered a rush.