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Saw woman fall off, lie dead on the ground: Witnesses tell of Mumbai stampede horror

Witnesses to the stampede said the melee had been caused either by a 'short circuit and an explosion' or by rumours that part of the footover bridge was collapsing.? Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 29, 2017, 06.24 PM (IST)

What exactly caused the stampede on the footover bridge at Mumbai's Elphinstone Road railway station that led to the deaths of at least 22 people and injured 39? 

Witnesses to the scene are now saying that it was either a "short circuit and explosion" or rumours that set off the melee. 

PTI reported Riyaz Mohammad, who lost two friends in the tragedy, as saying he saw a short circuit and heard an explosion at the southern end of the foot overbridge. 

PTI reported another eyewitness, Akhilesh Nirmal, as saying lightning caused by thunder triggered rumours of a short circuit.

"Around 10:25 am, I saw a short circuit and heard an explosion at the south-end of the foot overbridge (FOB) staircase. I saw a woman falling off and lying dead on the ground, which caused panic among people who started pushing each other," PTI reported Mohammed as saying. 

NIrmal said people were sheltering under the FOB from the rain. 

And that when the rains subsided, people rushed down. But that there were also people trying to climb up -- and that the end result was chaos. 

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PTI reported Manish Mishra, who lives near the station, as saying he suddenly heard a loud thud.

PTI also reported him as saying he saw "thousands cramped" on the foot overbridge. 

PTI said the decades-old overbridge is used by lakhs of people. The area around the station houses high-end corporate and media offices.

PTI reported Mishra as saying the fish and flower market nearby add to the congestion.

PTI reported Kishor Thakkar, a regular commuter on the route, as saying there was a loud noise which may have led people to believe a part of the bridge had collapsed, leading to the stampede.

Thakkar blamed the railways for the tragedy.

Western Railways, in a statement however, said the "rains were unprecedented", from which people took shelter on the FOB.  

They added that this led to "overcrowding at the exit". And that "prima facie rumours like falling of FOB led people to panic, leading to tremendous push from behind towards exit leading to stampede". 

Western Railways added that there was no structural damage to the FOB which can be attributed to the stampede.