Mumbai bridge collapse: Alert motorman and pointsman save hundred of lives

Had it not been for motorman Chandrashekar Sawant and pointsman Ganesh Vadge, the Andheri bridge collapse could have claimed more lives on Tuesday morning.

Their alertness ensured hundreds of commuters escaped the tragedy.

While Sawant halted a Churchgate-bound train by applying emergency brakes, Vadge, who saw the bridge collapsing, immediately informed the control room to switch off the current in the overhead wires, leading to a halt of all train services.

Trains services were suspended after a portion of Gokhale road overbridge (ROB) crashed on tracks near platform number eight of Andheri station around 7:30 am.

Sawant was approaching the ROB when he a loud noise caught his attention, and he saw what lay ahead. As the speed of the local train was slow, he applied emergency brakes. It stopped 100 metres before the spot.

“I heard a loud noise and saw the bridge coming down. I immediately applied emergency brakes and halted the local train. I was just doing my job and have been trained to handle such emergencies,” said Sawant.

The pointsman, (who inspects the tracks for any faults), Vadge saw the bridge coming down and alerted the WR control room to stop all services. “I saw the bridge coming down and snapped overhead wires falling on the tracks. I ran towards the spot and gestured the motormen of oncoming trains to halt. I then called up the control room and asked them to stop local services and switch off the overhead wires,” said Vadge

Meanwhile, railway minister Piyush Goyal, who visited the site, lauded Sawant’s efforts and announced a Rs5-lakh award. “I will personally felicitate Chandrashekhar Sawant….. and we will give him a Rs5-lakh award. These are the soldiers who work for the railways as well as the country,” said Goyal.

Meanwhile, several members of the rescue team, which was clearing debris, had a narrow escape when an overhead equipment mast, which holds overhead wires, suddenly came down and rested on a pillar.

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