Fourteen people were killed when a flyover under construction crashed in a crowded market area , crushing scores of unsuspecting people and vehicles, police and witnesses said. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who rushed to Kolkata after cancelling election rallies in West Midnapore district, said 70 others had been injured in the ghastly disaster which occurred around 12.30 p.m.
A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) official put the number of injured at around 100.
Hundreds of locals were the first to reach the site at Posta area in the city’s northern part to see how best they could rescue those buried in the heaps of debris before official rescue workers and police joined them.
As the city came to grip with the tragedy what came as rude shock to many was the remark by the builders.It termed it as an “Act of God”. “It is nothing but God’s Act. This has not happened to us in 27 years,” said Dr. K Panduranga Rao, a senior official of the Hyderabad-based IVRCL group. Dr Rao said around 45 per cent of the flyover was unfinished.
“A girder must have been missed and another probably fell,” he said, responding to reporters at the site where a massive rescue effort was in progress. He admitted that construction had been “going on for a few years”.
The army too deployed dozens of medical teams and engineers. Police and military ambulances raced to the site and transported the badly injured as as well as nearly dying to hospitals.
The soldiers are using specialized equipment to rescue those trapped under tonnes of mangled steel and concrete, a defence ministry spokesman said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed “shock” over the tragedy. “My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives,” he tweeted. “May the injured recover at the earliest.”
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he had spoken to NDRF Director General O.P. Singh to coordinate relief work. (IANS)