At Least 14 Killed in Tragic Billboard Accident

( – A particularly strong wind and dust storm in India’s financial center of Mumbai toppled a large billboard in the area, killing at least 14 people and injuring more than 70.

The billboard, which measured 230 by 164 feet and was considered the largest in Asia, was overlooking a gasoline station in Ghatkopar, a suburb in Mumbai. The billboard collapsed after strong winds and a massive dust storm buffeted the area, Video of the incident shows the massive billboard failing to stand up to extremely strong winds, causing it to fall flat in its entirety on the gas station, along with the cars and people below.

Rescuers braved the strong rains that followed, with the sheer size of the billboard requiring the use of heavy machinery to cut away and move parts of debris. Authorities attributed the incident entirely to the adverse weather conditions at the time. However, an investigation into the collapse is still ongoing. Authorities are currently looking into claims that the billboard, which is owned by an outfit called Ego Media, may have been put up illegally, as Mumbai’s municipal body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said that they did not have any record of any permit for the gigantic structure to be put up. The BMC also indicated that the billboard exceeded the size allowed by government regulators by as much as nine times.

Eknath Shinde, the chief minister for India’s Maharashtra state, expressed his condolences to the families of the victims, and said that the government was prepared to offer 500,000 Indian rupees (roughly $6,000) for every family that lost a loved one in the incident.

India experiences its monsoon season typically beginning around June, which lasts until September. During that time, the region often experiences torrential rains, strong winds and other adverse weather conditions that cause similar incidents, along with floods and landslides around the country.

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