The Mahalaxmi Express, which runs between Kolhapur and Mumbai in Maharashtra, got stranded on waterlogged tracks in Thane district due to incessant rain on Saturday morning. All the nearly 700 passengers on board were rescued by the afternoon, the Central Railway said.
Multiple teams were involved in the rescue operations, including those from the National Disaster Response Force, the Army, the Navy, local administration, police and the Railway Ministry. The state government had requested defence officials to arrange the airlift of the stranded passengers, PTI reported.
The NDRF rescue team reached the site shortly after 10 am and all passengers had been rescued by 3 pm, according to tweet updates by the Central Railway. They rescued several passengers using eight boats.
Earlier in the day, NDRF spokesperson Sachidanand Gawde told PTI that the rescued passengers were being taken to a safe place about 1.5 km from the site, and were given food, water and medical facilities. Later, special buses were arranged to take the passengers to the Badlapur station, and then a special train with 19 coaches was arranged to take them to Kolhapur, the Central Railway said.
Nine of the passengers were pregnant, and ambulances with 37 doctors and gynaecologists were sent to deal with emergency situations, said the Chief Minister’s Office.
Meanwhile, India Meteorological Department on Saturday predicted intermittent rain with “heavy to very heavy falls” in certain parts of Mumbai and the suburban areas within the next 48 hours. “In a span of 24 hours, #SantaCruz recorded 219 mm of #rains until 8.30 am today [Saturday], more rains coming up,” private weather forecaster Skymet said in a tweet, adding that heavy rains would continue in areas such as Panvel.
Waterlogging was reported in Chembur, Vangani, and at Badlapur railway station, according to The Times of India. “We request commuters to not venture in waterlogged areas and also request you all to maintain distance from the sea,” the Mumbai Police tweeted on Friday. “Please tweet to us or call on 100 in any emergency/need of help. Take care.”
Maharashtra government Spokesperson Brajesh Singh said eight NDRF boats have been deployed to areas near Kalyan, PTI reported. Houses in Varap, Kamba, Mharal on the Kalyan Murbad Road near Kalyan have been submerged. “The rescue work was underway and at least 100 people have been shifted to safer places from low-lying areas,” Singh said.
As many as 11 flights were cancelled and nine incoming aircraft diverted from the Mumbai airport on Saturday. “As many as 11 flights of various airlines are cancelled for today,” an airport official said. “These include seven departures and four arrivals. In addition to this, nine flights which were scheduled to arrive in Mumbai have been diverted to other nearby airports due to rains and other issues.”
However, suburban railway services between Kalyan and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus are not affected much. Central Railway Chief Spokesperson Sunil Udasi said that heavy rainfall and an overflowing Ulhas river resulted in water logging in Ambernath. “11028 Chennai-Mumbai Mail arriving CSMT and 11020 Bhubaneswar-Mumbai Konark Express have been diverted while 22149 Ernakulam-Pune has been short terminated at Panvel,” he said.
The weather department on Friday had issued an orange alert for the districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.