Sunil Sunny, priest of Kalkaji temple, said as soon as the elevated stage collapsed, devotees and sewadaars rushed to save the people who were trapped.“Instead of leaving, devotees eagerly joined us in removing tents and wooden frames, and they didn’t hesitate to help those who were trapped. Afterwards, they offered water to the rescued,” he said. Despite the risk of a stampede, the situation was handled effectively, thanks to the swift action by devotees and sewadaars, he added.
A senior fire department officer involved in the rescue praised the community’s response. “Both civilians and temple staff quickly transported injured individuals to hospitals, ensuring that there weren’t more casualties. Everyone’s willingness to help made a real difference in this critical situation,” he said.
Videos showed devotees escorting the injured out on stretchers. Many played heroes and assisted the firemen and cops in evacuation and management of the aftermath of the incident. In one such videos, people could be seen removing the wooden frames that had collapsed. Several videos emerged of how quick thinking by the devotees stopped further loss of lives.
Lakhmi, a businessman from Noida, and his family members were among those injured. “We were sitting near the stage,” Lakhmi recounted, “when it suddenly gave way. Two of my family members were hurt, but thankfully, others only needed first-aid.” He said that while some fled amid the chaos, others bravely rushed to help those trapped beneath the debris. “Their quick action and compassion averted a much worse tragedy,” Lakhmi added. He said that for the past seven-to-eight years, they had been coming to the annual event, but nothing like this had happened earlier.
“People were panicking, running in different directions,” recalled a woman who witnessed the scene firsthand. Sewadaars, instantly recognising the crisis, sprung into action, rushing towards the debris. With unwavering resolve, they began clearing the wreckage, freeing those trapped beneath. Simultaneously, they directed the disoriented crowd towards safety exits, guiding them away from the danger zone, she said.
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