14 Killed, 74 Injured After Massive Billboard Collapses

(Daily360.com) A fallen billboard has caused at least 14 deaths and 74 injuries in a suburb of Ghatkopar, India.

High winds and thunderstorms caused the 100-foot billboard to collapse on top of a gas station. Rescue efforts occurred throughout the night of May 13 into Tuesday morning, the 14th of May. Thirty-one victims of the collapse were released from the hospital while 44 are still getting treatment. The condition of the injured victims at the hospital is unknown, but one of the victims is in critical condition.

This tragic event took place during India’s monsoon season, which can often cause devastating destruction. The billboard is actually a hoarding, which is a temporary installation. This particular hoarding installation was illegal and did not get permission from the appropriate government officials or agency. The hoarding was mentioned in the Limca Book of Records as being the biggest hoarding with a total of 17,040 square feet.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, Kirit Somaiya, called out Bhavesh Bhinde as the culprit for installing the hoarding without proper approval. Somaiya said Bhinde should be declared a fugitive and that he is also responsible for at least 24 other illegal hoarding installations. He said Uddhav Thackeray’s government allowed these hoardings to be installed. Bhinde is currently on the run.

In the aftermath of the hoarding collapse, the Pune civic body has taken action to protect citizens against further harm from illegally installed hoardings. They have targeted over 1,500 illegal hoardings within the city. They have also called for legal hoardings to get inspected for structural integrity.

Bhinde was also accused of rape in a case earlier this year. He has denied the accusations by saying he was in a relationship with the woman that has accused him. He was granted bail in the case. He was also fined 21 times for illegal hoarding installations according to his criminal records. A search for Bhinde continues as he is facing a charge of culpable homicide.

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