<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When I boarded the 10:23 Churchgate slow local from Bandra this morning, the rain pressed hard against the moving train forcing people to move in faster and shut the doors.By the time I entered the train, every seat in the compartment was occupied and so I stood guard at the door. As the rain became incessant, I held the door shut and stood that way for the next four stations.Before reaching Elphinstone Road station, there was chaos in the air. Distressed cries were heard even before we pulled into platform number 2. I only registered the severity of the situation after the train slowed down while entering the station.People had fallen down on the stairs of the Foot over Bridge (FoB) but commuters were climbing over them – literally walking over horizontal human sandwiches – to move up the bridge.The narrow bridge at Elphinstone Road station connects west and east Parel, as well as the Western Railway and Central Railway platforms. Like most railway bridges, it has a ticket counter on the west side. The width of the bridge is narrow and the ticket counter cannot boast of ample space either.People were hanging out of the stairs leading to the Foot-over-Bridge (FoB), and some had even climbed over the railing and were climbing the stairs slowly from the outside. Others were screeching and screaming at each other, urging everyone to move ahead.A lot more were still pouring in from both sides of the bridge, and the discipline of ‘Keep to your left’ was long-forgotten as commuters tried to board incoming trains.I made my way up the second bridge, which runs alongside Jagannath Bhatnakar Marg — it took me nearly 15-20 minutes to make it up one flight of stairs and out of the station. As a five-foot woman, I gasped for breath, while being pushed from one side to another. Some good Samaritans steadied those like me who kept losing their balance. We could not see where we were placing our feet and the fear of tripping over gripped me.Less than half way up the stairs I realised I probably should have waited it out on the platform and let those who were in a bigger hurry than me proceed. But how long could the platform be safe? As crowds swelled with each incoming train, we ran the risk of being pushed on to the tracks.Then, someone from the ascending traffic whispered, “Three women have been hurt”. Others said something about a short circuit, but were unaware of where it erupted or what caused it. Others kept mumbling about the burgeoning crowd.As I got to my office, which overlooks the station, the crowd looked like more than the station could handle. Soon, we heard multiple sirens roaring close by. We rushed out on to the office balcony to see ambulances zooming in.And the news broke that a stampede at Elphinstone station had cost us three lives, while 25 have been injured at 11:30 am.This article originally appeared in Zeebiz.com

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Stampede at Elphinstone Road: A first person account of what happened