A stampede at a train station in Mumbai has killed at least 22 people, according to local officials. Police are investigating the exact cause of the stampede and authorities say the death toll is likely to increase.
Panicked pedestrians pushed across the bridge connecting the Lower Parel and Elphinstone train stations in the west-coast city of Mumbai, causing a stampede that killed at least 22 people and wounded more than 30 others, police said on Friday.
People were huddling under a canopy over the bridge to avoid a heavy downpour, which lawmaker Shaina Nana Chudasama of the governing Bhartiya Janata Party said made an already dangerous situation worse.
"There was chaos all around on the narrow bridge, people jumped over each other and many were seriously injured," police officer Sunil Deshmukh said.
"Some witnesses say the stampede was triggered due to rumors in the crowd that the bridge had collapsed or people had got electrocuted, others say women slipped off the stairs, setting off panic in the crowd."
Tanaji Kamble, a spokesman for Mumbai's disaster management office, told French news agency AFP that the stampede has been brought under control, but the death toll "is likely to go up." Railways Minister Piyush Goyal offered his condolences and said the incident was being investigated.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences to the families of the stampede victims on Twitter.
Accidents are common on Mumbai's local railway system which serves the city's 20 million inhabitants. India has received criticism for not upgrading the country's aging railway infrastructure.
"It was a disaster waiting to happen," a local resident told Indian broadcaster NDTV, adding that there had been multiple demands for more bridges.
dv/sms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)