Twelve dead, 60 injured in India billboard collapse

NDRF personnel look for survivors during a rescue operation at the site where a billboard collapsed in Mumbai on May 13, 2024. [AFP]

Twelve people were killed and at least 60 injured after a billboard collapsed during a fierce storm in India's financial capital Mumbai, officials said Monday.

An excavator was digging through the wreckage as rescuers raced to find any survivors after the signage collapsed at a petrol station in the city's east, trapping dozens of people underneath.

Eight bodies had already been removed from the wreckage, Gaurav Chauhan, an inspector with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), said.

Four more bodies are still buried inside the debris, he added.

"We have located them but we cannot remove them due to this petrol pump and the situation can be hazardous," he said.

Earlier, a statement from municipal authorities said that 60 people had been rescued and admitted to hospital.

The collapsed billboard measured 70 by 50 metres, according to a post on social media platform X by Mumbai's police force.

Mumbai was hit by strong winds accompanied by rain and dust storms on Thursday that uprooted trees and caused brief power outages in parts of the city, along with disruptions to the city's train network.

Indian media reports said flights were temporarily suspended at the city's international airport with at least 15 planes diverted.

Devendra Fadnavis, the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra state, said the injured were being treated at Rajawadi Hospital.

A "high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident," Fadnavis said in a post on X.