New Delhi: A 53-year-old man lost his life and four other people were injured when a portion of a wall of the elevated Gokalpuri Metro Station in northeast Delhi collapsed, police said.
The deceased, identified as Vinod Kumar Pandey, a resident of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony in nearby Karawal Nagar, was a rice delivery agent. Pandey was on his scooter, en route to deliver rice to a shopkeeper when he was struck by debris from the collapsed wall.
Following the incident, which occurred around 11 am, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has ordered safety checks across its entire network.
According to police, those injured are out of danger. They were undergoing treatment at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital. Two motorcycles and as many scooters were damaged in the collapse.
Describing the harrowing incident, eyewitnesses also highlighted that it could have been a greater disaster given that several students usually gather near the spot after school for snacks.
"The Government Boys Senior Secondary School is hardly 50 metres from where the collapse took place. The incident happened around 11 am. Had it occurred around 1.30 pm, it could have been even more disastrous as several students usually gather there to have tea and snacks after school," a cab driver who was near the metro station at the time said.
The DMRC suspended a manager and a junior engineer from its civil department, pending an enquiry, and ordered a probe into the incident.
It also announced a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the family of the deceased, Rs 5 lakh to those grievously injured and Rs 1 lakh for minor injuries.
The Delhi government directed the transporter to constitute a committee of experts to look into the incident.
"A case under sections 304A (causing death by negligence) and 337 (rash or negligent act -- to endanger human life, or the personal safety of others) of the IPC has been registered against the metro contractor or builder. Further investigation is on," a police statement read.
Train movement was stopped from 11:12 am to 11:23 am on both the up and down lines between Maujpur and Shiv Vihar on the Pink Line, the DMRC said in a statement.
A mobile phone video recorded by a passenger and shared on social media showed two of the injured people lying with rubble of the collapsed portion. Three damaged two-wheelers were seen as well.
Pandey, who died in the incident, returned to Delhi from his hometown in Uttar Pradesh two days ago after his daughter's engagement.
He is survived by his wife and three children -- two daughters and a son. Pandey was originally from Sultanpur.
The incident took place around 11 am when a boundary wall on the eastern side of the elevated platform and part of a slab fell on the road below, according to a police officer. Some portion of the slab was hanging due to which the road was cordoned off.
The Pink Line of the DMRC runs between Majlis Park and Shiv Vihar metro stations.
An eyewitness, Azad Ali, said, "It was around 11 am when we suddenly heard a loud bang. We rushed to the spot... one scooter rider was trapped under the debris." Local shopkeeper Sehzad Khan said he helped the police in the rescue operation. Two people were severely injured, Khan said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (northeast Delhi) Joy Tirkey said as the Gokulpuri police station is located next to the metro station, the local staff including the station house officer rushed to the spot soon after the incident.
"Four people were injured due to the collapse. Our staff, with the help of locals and officials of the fire department, pulled them out of the debris and rushed them to GTB hospital," he said.
Several video clips of the incident shot on mobile phones by passersby also emerged on social media, showing policemen removing the rubble of the collapsed portion from the road and part of a ledge hanging precariously.
A Delhi Fire Service official said the collapse was reported at 11.10 am and four fire tenders were immediately pressed into service.