Photo by BL SONI
Photo by BL SONI

Mumbai: At least three people, including a minor, drowned to death and seven others were injured after 27 persons fell into a well at Vile Parle (E) on Tuesday evening.

Ironically, more than a score of women were performing the ‘Jitiya’ ritual for the longevity and safety of their children, sitting on the edge of the well. The iron grille could not take the weight and collapsed, leading to the tragedy.

Soon after the incident, most of the women were rescued by the locals, who pulled them out using dupattas and sarees, while others were extricated after the fire brigade team reached the spot. The team retrieved the bodies of three people, identified as Madhavi Pandey, 49, Divya, 3, and Renu Yadav, 30. Search operations were still on late in the evening.  The four injured, who were rushed to Babasaheb Gawde Hospital in Vile Parle (E), were identified as Mahek Manoj Gupta, 11, Chanda Jiyalal Gupta, 38, Geeta Manoj Gupta, 36, and Sumitra Nandalal Gupta, 47. Some others were sent to Cooper Hospital for treatment.

A resident said the well was covered with an iron grille after a person committed suicide by jumping into the well 20 years ago. There was an opening but it was just big enough to enable one to draw water from the well, which is 30 feet deep and 20 feet in diameter, said an officer. Vile Parle Police have registered an Accidental Death Report in the matter and will probe the case in tandem with the fire department. Anil Kumbare, DCP, who was present at the spot, said: “The well structure was extremely weak.’’

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