September 29, 2017 5:19 am
Updated: September 29, 2017 9:11 am

Stampede on crowded pedestrian bridge in India kills at least 22

WATCH ABOVE: Officials provide update on Mumbai train stampede, while witnesses describe horror

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MUMBAI, India – A stampede broke out on a crowded pedestrian bridge connecting two railway stations in Mumbai during the Friday morning rush, and at least 22 people were killed in the crush while another 27 were injured, officials said.

When falling concrete hit the bridge railing, people in the crowd thought the bridge would collapse and surged to escape, Mumbai police official Gansham Patel said.

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People had been crowding under the canopy covering the bridge to escape heavy rains, making the deadly tragedy worse, said lawmaker Shaina Nana Chudasama of the governing Bhartiya Janata Party.

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Commuters also often complain about street-sellers hawking their wares on the narrow overpass.

The pedestrian bridge connected two local Mumbai railway stations – Elphinstone and Parel.

As Mumbai police appealed to citizens to donate blood to help the injured, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences to the families of those killed.

“Prayers with those who are injured,” Modi tweeted.

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Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said the incident was being investigated.

Separately in the southern city of Banglaore, two people were killed in another stampede by hundreds of people jostling to obtain coupons for free food offered by a local philanthropist, police said. The philanthropist has been detained for questioning.

Deadly stampedes are fairly common in densely populated India, where many cities are unequipped to deal with large crowds gathering in small areas, with few safety or crowd control measures.

In October 2013, a stampede in Madhya Pradesh state in central India killed more than 110 people, mostly women and children.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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