Andheri bridge collapse: Heroic train driver saves many lives, gets Rs 5 lakh reward

One or several compartments of the local train could have come under the collapsing bridge had Chandrashekhar Sawant not been alert.

Andheri bridge collapse: Heroic train driver saves many lives, gets Rs 5 lakh reward
Chandrashekhar Sawant

Mumbai: A portion of a railway foot overbridge connecting Andheri East and Andheri West came crashing down on tracks on Tuesday morning. What could have been a massive disaster was averted all thanks to an alert train driver who slammed the emergency brakes to stop the local just metres away.

Chandrashekhar Sawant has emerged as a true hero after his alertness ensured the safety of passengers inside his train. Noticing the portion of the overbridge coming down, Sawant slammed the brakes to ensure the local train was not caught under the debris. "It was a regular day when I noticed that the bridge ahead was beginning to come down. My instant reaction was to hit the emergency brakes as far from the crash as possible," he told Zee News.

After visiting the site of the accident, Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal applauded his "quick thinking and timely action" at the time of the bridge collapse. He also declared an award of Rs 5 lakh for Sawant.

Sawant, who has been employed with the Railways since 1997, managed to bring his train to a complete halt at a time when morning peak hours has just kicked in. While five pedestrians, unfortunately, got trapped under the debris and received injuries, the scale of the incident could have been far more tragic had one or more compartments of the train Sawant was driving been caught under the collapsing bridge.

Rail traffic movement took a severe hit in Mumbai due to the accident even though emergency response teams reached the spot immediately. Rescue work was first completed with the help of an NDRF team and only then was repair and restoration work started.

Zee News found the bridge to be in dire need of repairs and this could have caused a part of it to crumble. An official cause of the collapse though has not yet been issued.