Billboard collapses in Mumbai: 14 dead and dozens injured

image caption, A large advertisement fell over a petrol station and some houses in Ghatkopar, a suburb of Mumbai

  • author, Tom McArthur
  • stock, BBC News

At least 14 people have been killed and dozens injured after a giant billboard collapsed during a sudden storm in the Indian city of Mumbai.

A billboard measuring 70m by 50m fell on houses and a petrol station in the city on Monday, according to police.

Emergency services say more people are still trapped and rescue operations are underway.

The state government of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Footage on local news channels showed the huge billboard swinging in the wind and crashing into buildings near a busy road in the city’s eastern suburbs, Ghatkopar. Several vehicles were crushed in the accident.

Photos from the scene show emergency crews working through the rubble. Dramatic video footage shows rescue workers pulling the victim out from under the fallen billboard and using power tools to cut through the metal.

“We have rescued around 80 people safely,” an official told news agency ANI. “One of the red cars was badly damaged and we suspect some people were trapped inside.”

image caption, Officials said that 10 more people may be trapped in the debris

Also, officials claim that the size of the billboard is many times more than the permissible size and the agency that put it up does not have permission.

The company was issued a notice and asked to remove the building and remove all similar boards from the city immediately.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the state government will provide financial assistance to 500,000 rupees ($5,987, £4,767) to the families of those killed and injured in the incident.

Monday’s dust storm brought parts of the city to a standstill, uprooted trees, disrupted travel and caused power outages.

Several flights at the city’s international airport were temporarily grounded or diverted, local media reported.

Mumbai is one of the many cities in India prone to severe flooding and rain-related incidents during the monsoon season – which usually falls between June and September.

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