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Mumbai Hoarding Collapse: Ex-ATC Manager & Wife Among 16 Dead, Rescue Op Ends; Owner On The Run

Earlier in the day, rescue personnel retrieved the bodies of a retired general manager of Air Traffic Control (ATC) and his wife. The bodies of the couple were extricated from a car stuck underneath the hoarding.

| Photo: AP/Rafiq Maqbool
Mumbai Hoarding Collapse | | Photo: AP/Rafiq Maqbool
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The rescue operation at the site of the Ghatkopar hoarding collapse in Mumbai has been completed after three days of the horrific incident in which 16 people lost their lives and 73 others were pulled from the rubble.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Bhushan Gagrani announced on Thursday morning that the rescue operation was over. The hoarding collapsed due to strong winds and a dust storm that struck the city early Monday evening.

A 30-second video of the incident surfaced, showing the massive hoarding of 120 feet x 120 feet falling over the petrol pump area, leaving several people trapped. 

Earlier in the day, rescue personnel retrieved the bodies of a retired general manager of Air Traffic Control (ATC) and his wife. The bodies of the couple were extricated from a car stuck underneath the hoarding. 

The couple, Manoj Chansoria (60) and his wife Anita Chansoria (59), went to refuel their vehicle at the petrol pump in Ghatkopar's Chheda Nagar area when the hoarding collapsed. The bodies of the couple, which were in a "decomposed state", were extricated from a car stuck underneath the hoarding, a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official told PTI.

Meanwhile, Mumbai Police's crime branch has formed over 10 teams to track down Bhavesh Bhinde, the owner of the collapsed billboard. Believed to have fled to Lonavala and potentially heading towards Pune, Bhinde is also being sought in Gujarat and at airport locations.

Bhinde's agency lacked the necessary permit from the BMC to erect the hoarding, which measured 1,338 square metres (14,400 square feet) – exceeding the maximum allowed size by nine times.

Bhinde and others have been booked under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), and 337 (causing hurt to another person by acting rashly or negligently) of the Indian Penal Code. The case is registered at Pantnagar police station, and the investigation is ongoing.

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