The incident took place during rush hour near a ticket window between the Parel and Elphinstone stations.
“The crowd was increasing …We couldn’t breathe, we were falling on each other, there was panic. There was no exit. There was also a rumour that the bridge is falling, the bridge is breaking,” shared Shruti Lokre, who survived the horror.
Visuals after the stampede showed multiple bodies and attempts to revive them. Passengers and local people were seen carrying bodies down the bridge. Footwear was scattered next to the bridge.
“The overbridge of Elphinstone station was overcrowded and due to rain it got slippery too. This caused panic and resulted in the stampede,” said Atul Shrivastav, inspector general of the Railway Protection Force. The police are investigating reports that a short-circuit caused a loud sound near the bridge and led to panic and chaos.
The two stations get much of Mumbai’s local train commuter traffic as there are a large number of offices in the area. Security personnel are usually posted for crowd management at the bridge.
Angry commuters and residents said the bridge is too old and narrow and not strong enough to take the busy sector. “It was a disaster waiting to happen,” remarked a local resident, saying that the bridge has been overcrowded for years and there have been multiple demands for more railway bridges for the area.
Many on social media targeted the bullet train project to link Mumbai with Ahmedabad launched earlier this month. Tweets urged the government to fund basic rail upgrades instead.
Local trains are the lifeline for the 20 million people of Mumbai.