Fourteen-year-old Rahul Kumar was killed after a tree fell on him inside the high-security Naval Officers Residential Area (NOFRA) in Colaba on Tuesday afternoon, police said. The boy was rushed to naval hospital INHS Ashwini, where his father, a Navy surgeon, works. Kumar was, however, declared dead. The incident took place around 12.30 pm, when Kumar was walking towards a friend’s home in Somnath Vatika. The police said that Kumar was speaking on his cell phone when a Gulmohar tree fell on him and he was trapped below.
“It took several minutes for the boy to be extricated from below the tree and for the military police to take him to hospital,” said an officer at Cuffe Parade police station. The police said that doctors declared Kumar dead upon arrival at the hospital. He succumbed to serious head injuries. Kumar’s father, Colonel Dr. Vipin Kumar Madanmohan, is a surgeon at the hospital.
After a post-mortem at G T Hospital, which concluded that he had died of head injuries, Kumar’s body was handed over to his family. A case of accidental death has been registered at Cuffe Parade police station. The tree was old and hollowed from inside by termites, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) Rashmi Karandikar, the Mumbai Police spokesperson.
A Cuffe Parade police officer said that the tree was so rotten inside that when it fell, it was completely uprooted. A defence spokesperson said that no information about the incident was available. He, however, said that the upkeep of trees in the military area is looked after by the Army Cantonment Board.
A senior BMC official said, “The incident was not reported to the Disaster Management Control Room, which logs all other cases of tree fall across the city. The incident took place in NOFRA, where we have no jurisdiction.”