Crowd mistook vendor's 'phool gir gaya' cry as 'pul gir gaya': Mumbai's Elphinstone stampede survivor

A woman told the inquiry panel that this set off panic among the crowd of people on the stair and they started running, trampling one another.

Published: 04th October 2017 03:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th October 2017 12:20 AM   |  A+A-

Passengers were caught in a stampede at Elphinstone railway station's foot over bridge in Mumbai. | (File photo by PTI)

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: A vendor’s cry of spilled flowers was misinterpreted by the crowd as a bridge collapse causing the panic and the stampede in the Elphinstone Road station on September 29, a survivor of the disaster has said.

“That was a day before Dusserrah. A vendor was carrying marigold flowers, who then in the rush, cried “phool gira” (flowers have spilled) but, people took it as “pul gira” (the bridge has collapsed) causing panic and which lead to the stampede,” said Shilpa Vishwakarma, a survivor of the disaster that took 23 lives at the foot over bridge on Elphinstone Road railway station.

Western Railway’s chief spokesperson Ravindra Bhakar confirmed that a young woman of about 19, who was going to attend her classes at Vile-Parle and got injured in the stampede, had told the investigating officers that the confusion over ‘phool’ and ‘pool’ was the trigger point. However, it is yet to be ascertained if that was the sole reason he added. 

Shilpa had received minor injuries in the stampede and was admitted to the KEM hospital. But, was released after the treatment. 

“We will try to get detailed accounts of other injured passengers, locals who rescued them,” Bhakar said. He also said the panel will ascertain if the stampede occurred after some rumours were spread.

Apart from this, other survivors have claimed that a short circuit led to a panic among the people crammed on the narrow bridge which resulted in the stampede.

Senior Railways officials had earlier said they have already put out advertisements appealing to people to come forward to share information on the stampede. The statements of two seriously injured passengers were recorded yesterday, he said.


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