Billboard Collapse Causes Deaths, Injuries in India

Billboard Collapse Causes Deaths, Injuries in India

( – A billboard has collapsed in India and killed over a dozen people. The enormous board, measuring 14,400 square feet, was located near a gas station in the Mumbai suburb of Ghatkopar and tumbled during high winds and storms that brought three inches of rain in two hours. The billboard fell directly onto the gas station, complicating rescue efforts. India’s disaster relief agency assistant commandant, Nikhil Mudholkar, said he was unable to use gas-based rescue equipment because “there is a petrol pump here.”

Initial reports indicated at least 14 people were killed, though more recent reports put the death toll at 16. While reports confirm there were no fires or explosions, dozens of people were injured and hospitalized, and traffic was disrupted along the city’s busiest highway. Eknath Shinde, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, the state in which Mumbai is located, told reporters that dead victims’ families will receive compensation and vowed to investigate the incident thoroughly. Deputy Devendra Fadnavis said, “Strict action will be taken against the culprits.”

Witnesses described seeing the giant board waving back and forth in high winds before its eventual fall. Courier Akshay Vasant Patil told reporters that he realized the structure was about to collapse while sitting in the gas station forecourt. He frantically left his vehicle, he said, but became trapped between other cars when the sign came down on top of him. “Eight to nine people, including me, managed to escape,” he stated.

Initial reports suggested that authorities believe the billboard may have been too large for its location. The area’s municipal government, the BMC, indicated that the sign, which is bigger than an Olympic-sized swimming pool, was nine times larger than is permitted for a site in that area. The agency furthermore declared that there was no record of a permit to host such an enormous advertising board next to the gas station. The advertisement agency responsible was ordered to take down all of its billboards.

Mumbai police also reportedly arrested Bhavesh Bhinde, the director of the advertisement agency in question, following the billboard collapse. He was allegedly staying at a hotel with a fake ID at the time of his arrest.

Eknath Shinde confirmed that he had ordered an audit of all billboards in the state to ensure strict compliance with regulations.

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