At least 500 passengers including nine pregnant women, who were stranded in Mahalaxmi Express train in Badlapur due to heavy rainfall, have been evacuated with joint efforts of rescue teams.
Three boats are already on the site to rescue the passengers and more boats are being inflated for the rescue operation. At present, several ambulances are present at the spot with a team of 37 doctors including a gynaecologist deployed for emergency situation.
There was no respite from incessant rains in Mumbai which affected the rail services on Saturday, with long-distance Mahalaxmi Express getting stuck near Badlapur in Thane district due to flooding of tracks.
Authorities called in the National Disaster Response Force and also sought help from the navy to rescue the 700 stranded passengers of the train, which left Mumbai for Kolhapur on Friday night but could not travel beyond Chamtoli where it is stranded since the early hours of Saturday, an official said.
"Due to a raging Ulhas river, the Mahalaxmi Express train got stuck at Chamtoli within the limits of Badlapur due to flooded tracks. The passengers were safe, but the only concern was a rise in water level on the tracks," Resident Deputy Collector (Thane) Shivaji Patil said. He said two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been rushed to the site to rescue the stranded passengers.
"Helicopter services and naval assistance have also been sought," he added. NDRF personnel are rescuing the passengers, a senior official said. The Central Railway (CR) appealed to the passengers not to try getting out of the train on their own as it can be risky. "Our request to passengers of Mahalaxmi Express, please don't get down from train. Train is a safe place. Staff, RPF and City Police are in train to look after your wellbeing.
Please wait for advice from the NDRF and other disaster management authorities," said Sunil Udasi, the chief spokesperson of the Central Railway. Maharashtra government spokesperson Brajesh Singh said eight NDRF boats are deployed. Central Railway's senior spokesperson A K Jain said the NDRF teams will rescue the stranded passengers and they will be brought to Badlapur station.
"We have planned a special relief train to send the passengers to their destination. Food packets have been delivered to the passengers by the local police and the Railway Protection Force (RPF)," he added.