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Flyover collapse tragedy: Rescue operations commence

Last updated on: March 31, 2016 22:39 IST

Motionless bodies, body parts smeared in blood, scattered iron girdles and concrete slabs of collapsed part of an under-construction flyover were at the site teeming with hundreds of policemen, rescue workers, Armymen, a couple of hours after the tragedy.

IMAGE: Rescue operations underway at the collapsed flyover. Photograph: PTI

Scattered shoes, slippers, water bottles, broken glass panes, hand bags were seen all over the busy Vivekananda Road and Tagore Street crossing spot, called the Ganesh Talkies area, as the security personnel and rescuers were sifting through the rubble in search of survivors.      

The collapse caused at least 18 deaths and over 78 injuries, till now.           

Narrating the sequences, a roadside fruit seller Amzad Hussain said the incident took place at around 12.10 pm.

"It appeared that the whole sky came down. The sound was deafening and the whole area was trembling. Initially I thought it was an earthquake. In fact, seeing people running helter skelter I ran away from my shop and as I found a massive dust swirling in air, I realised that the bridge has collapsed," Amaz said.

It was the locals who rushed to the spot and started the initial rescue work before informing police and fire office.

Teams of policemen, state disaster management teams, CRPF, CRP, Armymen poured in as locals climbed upon the rubbles in an attempt to rescue survivors at the scene, where multiple vehicles including cars, auto rickshaw were crushed and trapped under the bridge.

Kins, family members were hysterically moving around with printouts of parents and asking policemen whether they have been spotted from the underneath the collapsed portion of the bridge in the central part of the city.

Ajay Kondai and his wife Sarita Kondai, of the nearby Natunbazar Rajbari locality were passing by the area when the mishap happened, their relative Asit Kondai said.  

IMAGE: Rescue operations underway at the collapsed flyover. Photograph: PTI

"They were passing by this area by that time. We do not know whether they are trapped underneath the rubbles or not. Phone calls to their numbers remain unanswered... So we have come here with their photos to get information about them," Asit said.

Later, the duo were declared dead at CalcuttaMedicalCollegeHospital.

An emotional Sujit Shaw, whose son Vikash had a close shave, said, "I thought he was dead. I was crying and asking locals whether they can spot him underneath the rubble ...Suddenly, somebody told me that Vikash was on the other side of the road."

Recalling the moments of horror, Vikash said, "I was crossing the road. Suddenly, I for no reasons felt like sprinting... Trust me there was no reason, I just felt like running and cross the road.. I know that it's because of Hanumanji I have survived the collapse. I have got a new lease of life", Vikash, who was standing next to his father, muttered.

IMAGE: Rescue workers have been carrying the injured to the hospitals. Photograph: PTI

As the father-son duo, like several others watched helplessly, the rescue operation was on full swing.

Besides Army personnel, a special team of Kolkata Police, Kolkata Traffic Police, teams from the state police, fire department, the National Disaster Response Force were using Gas cutters, Cranes Gaps to prise open the iron girdles while locals were helping them to carry on work.

Besides, helping the Army in rescuing the bodies trapped underneath the rubble and debris, few locals were also seen helping those injured reaching nearest medical facilities.

"We did what we can do best... But we could not do much because the iron girdles and the concrete slabs are very heavy to be handled by bare hands," Yousuf Ali, a 23-year-old local youth said.

Private ambulances of local organisations besides trauma care ambulances were moving back and forth to carry the injured to different hospitals in the city.

"The local boys have done a commendable job. They were of great help today. Their knowledge of the locality and help to steer the ambulances move out from the congested area have been of great help," a senior police officer said. 

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