At least 22 dead in stampede at Mumbai train station

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NEW DELHI — At least 22 people have been killed and 35 injured in a stampede at a train station during morning rush hour in the Indian financial hub of Mumbai, according to Deepak Deoraj, spokesman for the Mumbai police department.

The deadly stampede happened around 10:30 a.m. local time Friday on a footbridge at Prabhadevi train station, formerly known as Elphinstone station, Anil Saxena, spokesman for India’s Ministry of Railways told local media.

Saxena said the crowd on the footbridge grew larger as people took cover during an unexpected rain shower. Once the rain stopped the crowd started moving and someone “must have slipped” — leading to the initial blockage.

Television and social media footage from the scene shows heaving crowds of trapped commuters desperately trying to climb over railings and stairways to escape the crush, as lifeless bodies are pulled free.

In a message posted to his official social media account, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his “deepest condolences to all those who have lost their lives due to the stampede in Mumbai.”

This is the second tragedy in less than four weeks to hit the western metropolis of more than 18 million people. A building collapsed in the city following a week of heavy rains at the end of August, killing more than 33 people.

India’s railways Minister Piyush Goyal is currently in Mumbai for a scheduled event. Writing on Twitter, he expressed his condolences to the families of those who had died in the stampede and promised a high level inquiry.

Goyal, who has spearheaded India’s nascent drive to modernize its railway network and introduce bullet trains, came under fire on social media, however, as people took to Twitter to vent their anger at the allegedly dilapidated state of Mumbai’s rail infrastructure.

Prabhadevi Railway Station, which has just two platforms, is located in the heart of central Mumbai close to the exclusive Worli district, home to some of the city’s most expensive real estate.

Developing story – more to come

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