One construction labourer died and at least eight were injured as a girder collapsed on the construction site of the Eastern Freeway at Shanti Nagar in Wadala on Thursday at about 9.20 pm. Workers at the construction site were launching a girder on the under-construction elevated road when it collapsed, trapping several labourers in the debris. The weight of the slab crushed one Meru cab and a portion of an oil tanker, causing oil to leak on the entire stretch of the road.
“I was just standing at the edge of the road in the breeze with my friends, looking at the construction workers heaving up the slab when suddenly we saw it collapsed. We went running to the spot. The police didn’t reach until nearly half an hour later and there were no ambulances. There were many trapped underneath the debris. We pulled them out one by one and hailed taxis to take them to the hospital,” Kasib Khan, who lives in a slum nearby.
Khan said there were at least nine people who were trapped under the slab and injured, contrary to official figures. He added, there are no safety measures undertaken on the road while the construction work is on.
“Every night there are taxis and trucks parked right below the construction site and no one says anything,” he added.
Officials attached to the Wadala Truck Terminal police station said the injured were rushed to Sion Hospital and KEM Hospital, with three of the six being grievously injured.
Officials from the fire brigade, police and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) rushed to the spot on hearing of the accident. Hours after the incident the road was in a state of chaos with large crowds of onlookers trying to press closer to the actual accident site.
“We will start the operations of lifting the crane in the wee hours of the morning once we are able to clear the site off the people gathered there,” said Dilip Kawathkar, spokesman at the MMRDA.
This is the second time that a girder has collapsed on the Eastern Freeway construction site. The first incident was in October near Mysore colony when an 80mm bolt on the crane came off due to which the girder collapsed. However, no construction worker was injured in the incident.
This is also the sixth accident involving contractor Simplex Infrastructure, which is currently in the process of replying to a show cause notice