At Least 14 Dead After Billboard Collapses Onto Crowd

( – In the late evening on Monday May 13, tragedy struck the suburb of Ghatkopar in eastern Mumbai, India.

As India is moving into its rainy season, the area was experiencing heavy rain and high winds, which caused an enormous billboard to collapse. The 100-foot-tall billboard fell onto a gas station, trapping, injuring and killing people below. Rescue efforts are still ongoing, and many have been hospitalized whose condition is unknown. So far, 14 are confirmed dead, and another 74 are reported injured.

It is believed there may be more survivors trapped under the billboard, which is estimated to be about 227 feet by 164 feet in size. Footage from the incident shows it swaying in the wind before it crashes into nearby buildings and across a busy road. Several vehicles were immediately crushed. One official noted a particular red car trapped beneath the billboard saying they think there are people still trapped in it. Rescue workers toiled throughout the night and into Tuesday morning. At least 13 people have already been released from the hospital after assessment and treatment.

While clearly the storm was the immediate cause of the billboard’s collapse, there were already issues around the structure before the accident. Authorities commented that it was several times the permitted size for billboards. They also claim the structure was erected illegally. A notice has been sent to the company that put the billboard up, demanding that they immediately dismantle it and any similar structures they may have in the city. Law enforcement is still investigating the issue.

Deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis announced that the state government will be offering financial assistance to the families of those who were killed or injured in the unfortunate incident. The monetary aid of 500,000 rupees translates to approximately $5,987 in US dollars. The shocking accident struck a terrible blow to a city already suffering the effects of the storm. Parts of the area darkened from power cuts, trees were ripped up by the roots and planes were grounded. In a post on social media, the Mumbai police said scores more people may still be trapped.

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