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1,050 passengers rescued from stranded train near Mumbai

This screen grab from video footage tweeted by the Indian Air Force on July 27, 2019 shows an aerial view of the stranded Mahalaxmi Express in a flooded area between Badlapur and Vangani, some 70 km from Mumbai. Photo: IAF/AFP

This screen grab from video footage tweeted by the Indian Air Force on July 27, 2019 shows an aerial view of the stranded Mahalaxmi Express in a flooded area between Badlapur and Vangani, some 70 km from Mumbai. Photo: IAF/AFP  

Flooded tracks halt Express near Badlapur; 10-hour operation by NDRF, Army and Navy.

A coordinated operation of the NDRF, the Army and the Navy on Saturday rescued over a thousand passengers stranded on the Mumbai-Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Express near Badlapur, following heavy overnight rains that inundated large swathes of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

The train that left Mumbai on Friday night could not proceed beyond Wangani in Thane district, around 65 km from Mumbai, as the Ulhas river near Badlapur breached its banks, leading to water-logging on the tracks.

The memories of a devastating July 26, 2005 floods which had claimed 5,000 lives across Maharastra were revived as thousands were left stranded following overnight rains that inundated large swathes of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) on Saturday.

NDRF begins rescuing passengers stranded in Mahalaxmi Express using rubber boats

NDRF begins rescuing passengers stranded in Mahalaxmi Express using rubber boats   | Photo Credit: Twitter/ @MahaDGIPR

In what was a nearly averted tragedy, 20 coaches of the Mumbai-Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Express went under water leaving 1,050 passengers onboard stranded - including nine pregnant women - as the Indian Army, Navy, and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were roped in to launch a never-seen-before rescue operation lasting over 10-hours along the banks of an overflowing Ulhas River at Badlapur. 

The first SOS on the train was sent out at 5.25 a.m. A coordinated response was initiated by the Maharashtra government.

In the 10-hour rescue operation, seven Navy units, two helicopters of the Indian Air Force, and four Army columns retrieved 1,050 passengers, including nine pregnant women, from the 20 marooned coaches. The operation was monitored by Western Naval Command, Chief Secretary of Maharashtra and Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai.

Teams from the NDRF were the first to reach the site with six inflatable boats at 9.43 a.m.. They were joined by the Western Naval Command with three diving units, a ‘seaking’ helicopter with divers on board and several auto inflatable crafts. The first seven passengers were evacuated at 10.05 a.m.

By 2.00 pm all the passengers had been safely evacuated and brought to the Sahyadri Mangal Karayalay in Badlapur.

A special train from Kalyan departed at 6.10 p.m. carrying the evacuated passengers via the Manmad line to Kolhapur, railway officials said.

NDRF begins rescuing passengers stranded in Mahalaxmi Express using rubber boats

NDRF begins rescuing passengers stranded in Mahalaxmi Express using rubber boats   | Photo Credit: Twitter/ @MahaDGIPR

“We received unprecedented rainfall in a short period. Our first objective was to reach the train and ensure that passenger do not de-board in panic. This was a first-of-its-kind evacuation undertaken on this scale in Maharashtra,” said Chief Public Relation officer, Central Railway, Sunil Udasi.

 

 

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 9:59:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mahalaxmi-express-stuck-in-thane-with-700-passengers-after-heavy-rains-ndrf-called-in/article28730371.ece

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