Maharashtra: All 1050 Passengers On Board Stranded Mahalaxmi Express Rescued

All 1,050 passengers, including nine pregnant women, of the Mahalaxmi Express stuck on waterlogged tracks near Vangani in Thane district, have been rescued by the NDRF and other rescue teams

Maharashtra: Mahalaxmi Express With 700 Passengers Stranded Due To Heavy Rains; NDRF, Navy Deployed For Rescue
Thane: National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel carry out rescue and relief operation after a train bound for Kohlapur from Mumbai was stranded following heavy monsoon rain near Badlapur in Thane district. PTI
By: ABP News Bureau
Updated: 27 Jul 2019 07:21 PM
Mumbai: All 1,050 passengers, including nine pregnant women, on the Mahalaxmi Express which was stranded for nearly 18 hours in heavy flood waters, around 90 km from Mumbai, were rescued in a massive, multi-agency operations by Saturday afternoon. The National Disaster Response Force, Navy, Air Force, Railway Protection Force and local authorities have jointly launched a rescue operation to move the passengers out of the deluged area.

The train, with around 1000 passengers, had left Mumbai for Kolhapur on Friday night, but could not travel beyond Chamtoli, where it reached early Saturday. Talking to PTI, chief spokesperson of the Central Railway Sunil Udasi said all 1,050 passengers were taken to a safe spot. "A special train with 19 coaches will leave from Kalyan to Kolhapur with the affected passengers of the Mahalaxmi Express," Udasi said.

"Teams of @NDRFHQ, @indiannavy, @adgpi, IAF, Railways & state administration have safely rescued all the 700 passengers stranded on Mahalaxmi Exp near Mumbai due to heavy rain. We were closely monitoring the entire operation. Kudos to the rescue teams for their exemplary effort," Amit Shah said in a tweet.

Besides, seven Indian Navy teams of divers with specialised equipment, a Seaking and MI-17 helicopters of the IAF, and two columns of Indian Army from Mumbai already in Thane and two more en route, were also deployed for the massive operations. Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai called up Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and offered all help from the Centre.

The rescue operation picked up pace post-noon when rain subsided a little, enabling quicker movement of personnel and the evacuated passengers carrying their luggage and minor children to safer spots.

Many weary passengers attempted to walk, but when they, especially the senior citizens, lost strength, police and other rescuers promptly hoisted them on their shoulders and took them to safety.

A few local villagers, many of whom were also stranded in the flood waters, also ventured out to help the train passengers early in the day before the official rescue teams from Mumbai, Thane and Pune reached the venue.

The passengers were brought off the train into boats and taken to a small village around 1.5 km away where the villagers welcomed them with water, hot tea and biscuits and even carried their luggage and the kids.

From there the passengers boarded buses, tempos and smaller vehicles to go to Badlapur, seven km away. A fleet of ambulances with three dozen doctors including gynaecologists were deployed there to tackle any emergency.

Nine-month pregnant, Reshma T. Kamble, who went into labour, was shifted to the Shushrut Hospital in Badlapur where she is now under observation.

The Central Railway then ferried the rescued passengers by a local train to Kalyan where a 19-coach special train was kept ready to take them to Kolhapur, famed for its Goddess Mahalaxmi Temple. A railway official also said that the authorities were also ready to take those passengers who so wanted back home to various destinations in Mumbai.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai spoke to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and assured him that all Central assistance will be provided to the state.

Earlier, after a request from the Maharashtra government, eight flood rescue teams from Navy including 3 diving teams mobilised with rescue material, inflatable boats & life jackets were sent to the location. A Seaking Helicopter was also sent with divers for deployment in the area as advance assessment party. The train Mahalaxmi Express is held up between Badlapur and Wangani adjoining Thane district due to heavy rains.

The Central Railway (CR) appealed to the passengers not to try getting out of the train on their own as it can be risky. "Our request to passengers of Mahalaxmi Express, please don't get down from train. Train is a safe place. Staff, RPF and City Police are in train to look after your wellbeing. Please wait for advice from the NDRF and other disaster management authorities," said Sunil Udasi, the chief spokesperson of the Central Railway.

Heavy rains have been lashing Mumbai and the adjoining areas, which has led to flooding in several parts. The downpour has led to traffic snarls and cancellation of several flights. It has also affected the movement of trains.

As the downpour revived the memories of the much greater monsoon fury the city had witnessed on July 26, 2005, there were delays of on average more than one hour in airport

Intense spells of rain are likely to continue in the districts of Thane, Raigad and Mumbai, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had said earlier in the day.

ALSO WATCH: Insistent rain continues in Mumbai, Mahalaxmi Express struck since yesterday night