Two dead, flight overshoots runway as rains still batter Mumbai, surroundings

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Mumbai, July 10 (IANS) At least two persons were killed in rain-related accidents in Maharashtra’s Palghar while road, rail traffic and flights were severely hit as the country’s commercial capital and many parts of the state were battered by incessant rains for the fourth consecutive day on Tuesday, officials said. Mumbai has now been placed at high alert.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis informed the legislature in Nagpur that all agencies including the Indian Navy, the Disaster Management Cell and others are working hard to provide all assistance to Mumbaikars.

Anxious moments were experienced at Mumbai Airport when an Air India Express flight IX-213 with 89 passengers, while landing on the alternate runway 14 at around 3 p.m., overshot the runway by 10 feet and stopped on the paved stopway.

An AIX spokesperson said though the aircraft landed correctly and used maximum braking, it could not stop owing to the slippery conditions following heavy rains and stopped only on the paved stopway. There was no damage to the aircraft or injuries to the passengers and crew.

An airport spokesperson said flight arrivals and departures were delayed by around 25 minutes with no cancellations or diversions.

The Juhu Airport in Vile Parle was flooded most of the day, halting all helicopter and small aircraft operations.

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Mumbai’s lifeline, the Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) suburban trains, were running late by 45-60 minutes due to waterlogged tracks, causing major delays to the morning commuters.

There were brief disruptions owing to waterlogging, signal failures, a crack in the tracks and other problems, but overall the services remained largely functional.

WR services on the critical Vasai-Virar sector were cancelled. Services operated only between Churchgate and Vasai, as tracks lay submerged in 650 mm waters between Vasai-Virar, damaging electrical cables, signaling and other overhead equipment.

Several inbound or outbound long-distance trains, including even the Rajdhani Express, August Kranti Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, Duronto Express among others, were either cancelled, terminated en route or diverted on the Mumbai-Gujarat and Mumbai-New Delhi sectors.

WR spokesman G. Mahapurkar said over 16,500 food packets and water was distributed with the help of NGOs to thousands of stranded passengers at various stations and in 23 trains held up en route on the network and efforts were on to restore services after the waters receded.

Over 300 passengers and commuters stranded in stationery trains were rescued by teams in boats and taken to safety along with their luggage.

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Education Minister Vinod Tawde on Tuesday advised all school and college principals to monitor the rainfall position in their areas and declare a holiday if necessary for the second consecutive day.

According to the IMD, Mumbai recorded 165.8 mm rains so far this morning plus 38 mm till today afternoon, whereas the suburbs received 184.3 mm. plus 46 mm till this afternoon. More rains were forecast for the next couple of days.

In the past 21 days, the city has received over 60 per cent of its average seasonal total rains, said the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

At least 15 areas, including Dahisar, Borivali, Malad, Jogeshwari, Andheri, Santacruz, Mahim, Kurla, Parel, Dadar, Chembur, King Circle, Sion, Wadala, Masjid Bunder, Ghatkopar, Powai, Bhandup, Mankhurd were heavyily waterlogged, impeding traffic and pedestrian movement.

There were at least four minor instances of house wall crashes, 43 tree collapses, 30 short-circuit fires incidents but no casualties were reported.

In a rare instance, Mumbai’s famed Dabbawalas suspended all their tiffin box delivery operations on Tuesday, while many private offices in south Mumbai permitted their employees to leave a few hours early to enable them reach homes safely.

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In many areas of south-central Mumbai, disaster relief teams set out in inflatable rubber dinghies to guide people, shift them to safer locations or monitor the localities for any emergencies.

Massive traffic snarls were witnessed on the Eastern Express Highway, Western Express Highway and the Eastern Freeway all over the city.

Besides Mumbai, the adjoining districts of Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) like Thane, Palghar and Raigad also got heavy rains.

The worst-hit were Vasai, Nala Sopara, Virar, Ulhasnagar, Ambernath, Badlapur, and many villages and towns where thousands of homes were flooded or waterlogged with knee-deep waters.

The Disaster Management Unit of Palghar mounted a rescue operation in Mithagar coastal village and rescued 66 people from the flood fury, mostly senior citizens as well as a pregnant woman.

The body of a villager who died due to cardiac arrest on Tuesday was brought to a Palghar hospital by boat as ambulances could not reach the flooded village, an official said. Another villager who went missing near a waterfall was declared dead on Tuesday.

Teams of NDRF, SDRF, Fire Brigades and other agencies were on high alert in Mumbai and all other coastal districts.

–IANS

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