Heavy rain responsible for Elphinstone bridge stampede, says probe panel

Heavy rains and large number of people on Elphinstone railway bridge was the main cause of September 29 stampede in Mumbai that killed 23 people, according to the probe report submitted by railway Wednesday. "No one can be held responsible for the incident", Ravinder Bhaker, Chief Public Relations Officer, WR said, as reported by moneycontrol.com.

The two-member committee would inquire why it had taken 18 months after the project was cleared to issue the tender, railway spokesperson Anil Saxena told PTI.

Today, an inquiry into the stampede blamed heavy rain for the tragedy, the officials said.

Although the report did not support the theory of a short circuit on the bridge causing the stampede but did not rule out chances of people carrying heavy luggage losing balance in the rush and resulting in the chaos and stampede.

The panel has now come up with few recommendations for the passengers, preventing them from carrying heavy luggage during peak hours.

Apart from this, the panel has also made a decision to restrict the movements of vendors carrying heavy loads during peak hours.

The rush-hour stampede occurred on a foot overbridge connecting the Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban railway stations.

It suggested relocating elevated booking offices to widen the staircase which is adjacent to the foot overbridge where the stampede occurred.

Reportedly, a Dadar police reports had said that when rumours of the bridge collapsing spread after someone said that "phool gir gaya" (Flowers fell) and it was taken as "pul gir gaya" (bridge is collapsing).

The panel also called for providing an additional staircase.

The panel also gave a clean chit to railway officials.

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