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Business News/ News / India/  Heatstroke deaths at Navi Mumbai event: Witnesses recount horror of 'no water, people collapsing'
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Heatstroke deaths at Navi Mumbai event: Witnesses recount horror of 'no water, people collapsing'

No water was available, maybe because the crowd had increased
  • No water was there after 12 noon, eyewitnesses on horric sunstroke deaths at Navi Mumbai event
  • Kharghar: Maharashtra Bhushan Award ceremony in Kharghar, Sunday, April 16, 2023. (PTI Photo)(PTI04_16_2023_000347B) (PTI)Premium
    Kharghar: Maharashtra Bhushan Award ceremony in Kharghar, Sunday, April 16, 2023. (PTI Photo)(PTI04_16_2023_000347B) (PTI)

    A gathering of followers of social activist Appasaheb Dharmadhikari at Navi Mumbai's Kharghar ground resulted in the deaths of 13 people and the hospitalisation of around 650 others due to heatstorkes on Sunday. People had gathered from across the state to attend the prestigious Maharashtra Bhushan Award function where Dharmadhikari was being honored. Among the attendees were Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

    “I got as many relatives as I could out of the venue and into the bus, but one of my relatives called me to tell me that my uncle who was left behind has collapsed. We rushed him to the hospital," Nilesh Pathak told Quint, whose uncle Kailash Dabhade (45) is recuperating from a stroke at the Navi Mumbai civic hospital. The family had come to Navi Mumbai from Lonavala to attend the event. 

    "We didn't have anything to do with the political leaders who were attending the event. We only came there to listen to Appasaheb whose address was at the very end of the event. Most people were waiting to listen only to him," Pathak said.

    "The heat was at its peak. There was ample amount of drinking water, but the facilities were a little far from where we were. After Appasaheb's speech was over they concluded the event. The crowd started moving out of the venue through small gates. People started tripping and falling eventually, and that stampede only escalated," Pathak explained.

    Authorities had arranged for 2,100 water taps and 74 tankers to provide water to the attendees, but the extreme heat, which authorities hadn't taken into account, resulted in the water becoming hot and providing little relief to the attendees. Preliminary autopsy reports indicate that all 13 deaths were due to heatstroke. 

    Witnesses reported that some attendees had collapsed and that the situation quickly escalated into a stampede as the crowd began exiting the venue through small gates.

    A patient admitted at Vashi’s NMMC hospital alleged no water was provided after noon. “I had my breakfast and medicines, and then we reached the event. The arrangements were great but after 12 pm, no water was available, maybe because the crowd had increased,"elderly patient admitted at Vashi’s NMMC hospital told Indian Express.

    Despite the tragedy, some attendees refused to place blame on anyone, acknowledging that while there were adequate arrangements for water, the excessive heat was beyond anyone's control. 

    Dyaneshwar Patil, who is in his 30s, had come to Kharghar from Mumbai along with his wife and three-year-old daughter, told Indian Express, “There were adequate arrangements for water but due to excessive heat people suffered sunstroke. No one has control over sun. So no one is to be blamed. My daughter panicked after she saw me falling. Me, my daughter and wife are all fine and stable now." 

    The affected individuals were given water, Oral Rehydration Salt, food, and wet towels and were only allowed to leave after they had recovered.

     

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    Published: 18 Apr 2023, 08:10 PM IST
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