At least 60 people suffered injuries due to fish bites during the Ganesh immersion at Girgaum Chowpatty on Tuesday, civic officials said. They were taken to various hospitals where their condition is said to be stable.
Officials suggested after medical examination of the injured that the wounds were most probably due to stingray or cat fish bites.
“Stingray bites result in pain in the sting area. The bruises of some persons were bleeding,” said Dr Mahesh Shah, deputy dean at Nair hospital, where 38 people were treated. “We cleaned and medically dressed the wounds. The patients were also administered painkillers.” Eleven persons were taken to GT hospital, seven to Cama hospital and four were treated at JJ hospital. They are likely to be discharged in a day.
Dr Shah explained that the stingray sting was not venomous, but caused irritation. Stingrays have sharp tail spines and humans are usually stung in the lower limb region, only when they may accidentally step on a stingray.
Deputy municipal commissioner (zone II) Kishor Kshirsagar said these complaints began to come in at about 7.30pm. Tuesday was the first day of immersions in the 10-day Ganesh festival.
“This is the first time we have had such an incident. When we started receiving complaints, we moved the injured to the hospital,” Kshirsagar said.
Civic officials at the spot appealed to devotees to refrain from entering the sea and directed them to pontoons, floaters and boats, from where they could continue with the immersions.
Naresh Dahibawkar, head of the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, however, accused the civic body of neglecting previous complaints.
“In the past two years, we brought this to their notice, but they didn’t do much about it. If they do not do something about it this time there could be more trouble in the next few days as the number of visitors swells,” Dahibawkar said.
About 50 NGOs are working with civic authorities to manage the immersions. The BMC has engaged about 100 labourers and some 20 life guards are on duty with ambulances standing by.