Over 1000 passengers stranded on the Mahalaxmi Express 100 kms outside Mumbai have been rescued, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Saturday.
The National Disaster Response Force, Navy, Air Force, Railway Protection Force and local authorities jointly launched an operation to evacuate passengers on the train, which was stranded in floodwaters, and bring them to safety.
Central Railway said rescued passengers were taken to the Sahyadri Mangal Karyalaya in Badlapur where they were provided food.
Fadnavis said a special train had been arranged for all the passengers to travel from Kalyan to Kolhapur.
Seven Navy teams, two AIF helicopters, two military columns, local administration teams and another two military columns were deployed, Fadnavis tweeted.
Among those rescued were nine pregnant women for whom ambulances with doctors were arranged.
“Due to a raging Ulhas river, the Mahalaxmi Express train got stuck at Chamtoli within the limits of Badlapur due to flooded tracks. The passengers were safe, but the only concern was a rise in water level on the tracks,” Resident Deputy Collector (Thane) Shivaji Patil told PTI.
Authorities called in the National Disaster Response Force and also sought help from the navy to rescue the stranded passengers of the train, which left Mumbai for Kolhapur on Friday night but could not travel beyond Chamtoli where it is stranded since the early hours of Saturday, an official said.
The Railway Protection Force and the city police also reached the site and said they had distributed biscuits and water to the passengers.
Passengers told IANS they had gotten no drinking water or food for 15 hours. Hundreds of passengers on the train had made appeals for help on mobile videos and social media, the news agency reported.
Central Railway requested passengers to the stay on the train and not attempt to leave it. “Please don’t get down from train. Train is the safe place. Staff, RPF and City Police is in train to look after your well being. Please wait for advice from NDRF and other disaster management authorities,” it tweeted.
ANI’s video footage showed the water level in the area had reached up to the steps leading into the train.
Central Railway’s senior spokesperson AK Jain said the NDRF teams would bring the rescued passengers to Badlapur station.
Mumbai was lashed by heavy rains on Friday and the IMD predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai in the next 24 hours, PTI reported.
The Colaba observatory in Mumbai recorded 19.1 mm rain in the 24 hours ending 8.30 am on Friday, while the Santacruz weather station recorded 44 mm rainfall during that period.
An orange alert has been sounded for Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra, to signify that the authorities should get ready for necessary action.