At least 20 labourers were killed in Maharashtra’s Thane district on Tuesday morning after a girder machine fell on them during the construction of the Samruddhi Expressway, reported ANI. The machine is used to install girders in highway and high-speed rail bridge construction projects.

The accident took place near the Sarlambe village in Shahpur tehsil, reported PTI. A rescue operation is underway.

A witness told ANI that 30 labourers were working at the site when the girder fell. “Many of them were trapped under the structure with injuries on their legs, hands and head,” he added.

The Samruddhi Expressway, also called the Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, is a 701 kilometres-long expressway connecting Mumbai and Nagpur and traverses 10 districts including Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Amravati, Nashik, and Thane.

The first phase of the project that connects Nagpur to Shirdi had been inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December. In May, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had said that the third and last phase would be completed by the end of December this year.