Couple Perishes in Mumbai Hoarding Collapse: Tragic End to Visa-Related Trip

Mumbai, 16th May 2024: In Mumbai, tragedy struck as a massive hoarding, weighing 250 tonnes, collapsed during a severe dust storm on Monday, claiming the lives of 16 individuals, including retired Air Traffic Control (ATC) manager Manoj Chansoria, 60, and his wife Anita, 59. The couple, who had recently relocated to Jabalpur after Mr. Chansoria’s retirement in March, were in Mumbai for visa-related matters for Mrs. Chansoria.

Their car was found buried under the debris at a petrol pump in east Mumbai, where they had stopped to refuel during their journey back to Jabalpur. Concerned by their unresponsive phones, their son, residing in the US, sought assistance from a friend in Mumbai, who reported them missing to the authorities. Tracking their mobile phones, the police located their last known position near the Ghatkopar petrol pump.

Despite frantic efforts by friends and relatives, hopes of rescuing the couple were shattered as search and rescue operations concluded, with all bodies recovered from the rubble. The collapse also left 41 individuals severely injured, with 34 survivors discharged after treatment at various Mumbai hospitals.

The tragic incident has raised concerns over the safety of large hoardings, particularly in coastal areas prone to high-speed winds. While municipal regulations restrict hoardings to 40×40 feet, the felled hoarding exceeded these limits, spanning 120×120 feet. Authorities have filed a case of culpable homicide against Bhavesh Bhinde, the owner of the advertising agency responsible for the oversized hoarding.

In response to the calamity, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has pledged compensation of ₹5 lakh to the families of the deceased and assured coverage of medical expenses for the injured. The incident underscores the need for stringent enforcement of safety standards to prevent such tragedies in the future.