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Metro bridge collapses in New Delhi, 5 killed

July 12, 2009 14:05 IST

Five persons, including an engineer, were killed and 15 others injured when an under-construction over-bridge of the Delhi Metro collapsed on Sunday, in the second such incident in eight months. The accident took place as one of the pillars of the bridge gave in when a launcher was being erected close to Lady Sriram College in Jamrudpur in Lajpat Nagar at around 0500 hrs . "Three persons were brought dead to the hospital. Two persons who were trapped in the debris also died. Fifteen others were injured," Delhi Metro spokesperson Anuj Dayal told media persons. Among the dead were four labourers and an engineer of Gammon India, the contractor for the project.

The engineer has been identified as 28-year-old Anshuman while the names of the other deceased are yet to be released. The Delhi Metro attributed the accident to a "problem in the design" of the pillar. "We were trying to rectify it. There was a defect in the peer cap which caused thedisplacement," Dayal said. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit termed the incident as "unfortunate" and said a compensation package will be worked out in consultation with the Delhi Metro. In a similar incident in October last year, two persons were killed and 16 others injured when a portion of an under-construction bridge of the Metro collapsed and fell on a bus on Vikas Marg in Lakshmi Nagar area in east Delhi.

The accident also caused flooding in the area as the pillar fell on a water pipeline which burst. This led to diversion of traffic. Electricity supply was also disconnected during the rescue operations. Delhi Jal Board officials said water supply in the area will be restored only by Monday as they were yet to identify the spot where the pipeline was damaged. Dayal said the removal of debris from the road is progressing on a fast pace and traffic will be restored by Monday morning. A helpline -- 011-23414461 -- has also been set up to provide information regarding the accident, he said.

A labourer said around 30 people were working at spot at the time of incident. "Some problem was there with the support system and it could not handle the load, leading to the collapse," he said. Another labourer, who had a narrow escape, said, "I was standing on the peer and something hit me and I was down." A local said he heard a loud sound at around 5 am and he thought it was either a bomb blast or an earthquake. "First I thought it was a blast or something like an earthquake. I rushed outside only to see the bridge had collapsed," he said. Kuldeep, another resident, claimed that locals had seen two cracks on the pillars earlier and had informed the authorities, but no action was taken.

Metro officials said 15 people were taken to the All India Instutute of Medical Sciences Trauma Centre, where doctors said three were brought dead. "Out of the others, the condition of two is serious while one is undergoing a surgery," they said. Two persons were rushed to the Moolchand hospital. One of them has been discharged. Meanwhile, Delhi Police registered a case under Section 304-A (causing death due to negligence) of Indian Penal Code. "A case has been registered. No names have been mentioned in the FIR," a senior police official said.

Sunday's mishap was the second major accident at a Metro site after the bridge collapse in Lakshmi Nagar on October 19last year. A day after that incident, Delhi Metro had dismissed an Assistant Engineer, suspended another Junior Engineer and imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on Afcons, the contractor.

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