As many as 16 workers were killed after a giant gantry crane crashed on a girder during the construction of the third phase of the Samruddhi Expressway in Maharashtra's Thane district on Tuesday.
As many as six are feared trapped under the debris as rescue operations continue. "Sixteen bodies have been recovered so far, while three persons are wounded. Six more people are feared to be trapped inside the collapsed structure," the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) informed in a statement.
The incident reportedly happened around 1 a.m. on Tuesday between Sargaon and Sarambegain. The workers were involved in the third and final phase of the 701-km-long Samruddhi Mahamarg between Nashik-Mumbai when the mishap occurred.
The collapsed machine was a special-purpose mobile gantry crane used in bridge construction and to install precast box girders in highway construction projects, according to PTI.
The Samruddhi Mahamarg, named Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, is a 701-km-long expressway connecting Mumbai and Nagpur. It traverses ten districts including Nagpur, Washim, Wardha, Ahmednagar, Buldhana, Aurangabad, Amravati, Jalna, Nashik, and Thane. The construction of the Samruddhi Mahamarg is being carried out by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences. "Pained by the tragic mishap in Shahapur, Maharashtra. My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are injured. NDRF and local administration are working at the site of the mishap and all possible measures are being taken to ensure proper assistance to those affected," the Prime Minister's office tweeted.
"An ex-gratia of ₹ 2 lakh from PMNRF will be given to the next of kin of each deceased. The injured would be given ₹ 50,000," it added.