All 1,050 Passengers of Mahalaxmi Express Rescued After 17 Hours, Continue Journey on Special Train
The Mahalaxmi Express, which left from Mumbai for Kolhapur, had been stranded as the railway tracks were flooded as the Ulhas river overflowed after torrential rains lashed the area.
Passengers rescued from the marooned Mahalaxmi Express train in Badlapur on Saturday. (PTI)
Mumbai/Thane: The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Western Naval Command rescued all 1,050 passengers stranded on the long-distance Mahalaxmi Express near Badlapur in Thane after the railway tracks were flooded following heavy rainfall. The passengers later left from Kalyan to Kolhapur on a special 19-coach train.
Of these, the NDRF rescued 550 passengers. The Navy and the Army, Thane Corporation, fire brigade, villagers living in the vicinity and several other agencies were also involved in the rescue operations.
Officials involved in the rescue operation said the nine pregnant women and a one-month-old baby girl were also safe.
Authorities had called in the NDRF and sought help from the Navy to rescue the stranded passengers of the train, which left Mumbai for Kolhapur on Friday night but was unable to travel beyond Chamtoli where it was stranded since early on Saturday, an official said.
"Due to a raging Ulhas river, the Mahalaxmi Express train got stuck at Chamtoli within the limits of Badlapur. The passengers were safe, but the only concern was a rise in water level on the tracks," said Resident Deputy Collector (Thane) Shivaji Patil said, adding that two NDRF teams were rushed to the spot. "Helicopter services and naval assistance have also been sought."
Union Home Minister Amit Shah praised the rescue teams and said the Centre was closely monitoring the situation.
Teams of @NDRFHQ, @indiannavy, @adgpi, IAF, Railways & state administration have safely rescued all the 700 passengers stranded on Mahalaxmi Exp near Mumbai due to heavy rain.We were closely monitoring the entire operation.Kudos to the rescue teams for their exemplary effort. pic.twitter.com/4ODPDh9jxd— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) July 27, 2019
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai earlier spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and assured him that all central assistance will be provided to the state, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said in a tweet.
In a statement, the Union Home Ministry said it swiftly deputed the NDRF and mobilised support from the forces to rescue the passengers, adding that Shah closely monitored the rescue operations.
On getting the information around 8.50 am about the train being stranded, the ministry immediately deputed two NDRF teams each from Mumbai and Pune, along with nine boats and other necessary equipment. The teams reached the spot around 9.40 am, it said. On the MHA's request, the Defence Ministry deployed Navy and Air force teams.
Naval teams reached the site with specialist divers. Two Mi-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force were also pressed into service to assist the in rescue operation, the statement said, adding that two columns of the Army and 130 trained staff, food packages, water and rescue material were also deployed.
The Ministry of Railway mobilised all necessary resources, including a relief train, and provided medical assistance and refreshment to passengers.
Despite waterlogged roads, tough and undulating terrain, the NDRF and the Navy teams rescued all stranded passengers and railway staff from the train.
(With inputs from agencies)
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