A stampede broke out on a crowded pedestrian bridge connecting two railway stations in Mumbai during the Friday morning rush, killing at least 22 people and injuring another 32, officials said.
Police were investigating what caused the stampede on the bridge’s raised staircase, causing some commuters to leap over the railing. Others were crushed or fell underfoot and were trampled.
Officer Rajaram Patel says nearby hospitals are treating the 19 women and 13 men for their injuries.
“There were too many people on the bridge, and the people were in hurry and wanted to move out,” said Brijesh Upadhyay, one of the many caught in the crowd. “There was nobody helping, it was very suffocating, and we just wanted to get out of there — and fell on each other.”
One rescuer told Indian broadcaster NDTV that the stampede left dozens trapped in the narrow passage, forcing rescuers to break the railing to pull people out.
Mumbai police official Gansham Patel said that when falling concrete hit a part of the bridge railing, people in the crowd panicked thinking that the ceiling was collapsing and surged forward to escape.
Commuters also often complain about street-sellers hawking their wares on the narrow overpass, which connects two commuter railway stations — Elphinstone and Parel.
Heavy rains meant the bridge was even more crowded than usual, as some sought shelter from the downpour under the canopy covering the bridge, said lawmaker Shaina Nana Chudasama of the governing Bhartiya Janata Party.
As Mumbai police appealed to citizens to donate blood to help the injured, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences to the families of those killed.
“Prayers with those who are injured,” Modi tweeted.
Separately in the southern city of Banglaore, two people were killed in another stampede by hundreds of people jostling to obtain coupons for free food offered by a local philanthropist, police said. The philanthropist has been detained for questioning.
Deadly stampedes are fairly common in densely populated India, where many cities are unequipped to deal with large crowds gathering in small areas, with few safety or crowd control measures.
In October 2013, a stampede in Madhya Pradesh state in central India killed more than 110 people, mostly women and children.