French national dies after falling off `damaged` railing at Fatehpur Sikri

  • | Friday | 22nd September, 2023

AGRA: A 61-year-old French tourist died after allegedly falling off a damaged wooden railing from a high platform at the Fatehpur Sikri Fort on Thursday afternoon. The incident occurred while a group of 25 French tourists was taking selfies at the Turkish Sultana Palace near the Khwabgah monument inside the fort. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) superintending archaeologist Raj Kumar Patel said, The wooden railing broke, causing the woman to fall from the six-ft-high platform, landing on red sandstone floor. ASI staff called an emergency ambulance, but it arrived late. Despite the absence of visible bleeding, the tourist, identified as Esma Benyelles, lost consciousness, indicating a probable head injury. It took approximately 45 minutes for an ambulance to reach the scene. She was taken to a private hospital 40 km away from the monument to Agra city, where she was declared dead. A local tour guide, on the condition of anonymity, said, The wooden railing that broke had been installed during the pandemic period, but its structure was loose and was damaged due to lack of proper maintenance. It broke down when a woman leaned on it. Patel said, "The railing was placed for the safety of the tourists. It was fixed with wooden blocks as nailing and drilling in the monuments structure are not done until the absence of any alternative." Patel who visited the monument after the incident said, I have checked the entire railing. The claim that the railing was damaged, resulting in the accident, is not right. The tourist guide with the French group of tourists should have warned his clients not to put weight on the wooden structure. Shakeel Chauhan, national general secretary of the tourist guide federation of India, expressing shock at the lack of ambulance availability said, The entire incident will result in safety concerns among the tourists, especially foreigners. The ministry of tourism, ASI, and local administration need to take strict cognisance of the matter and take corrective measures. Meanwhile, Agra district magistrate Bhanu Chandra Goswami ordered a magisterial probe into the death of the foreign guest. He assured that necessary action will be taken to enhance arrangements for the safety of the tourist at the monument. He added, The allegations of delay in ambulance service will be a component of the magisterial probe. Strict action will be taken against those found guilty.

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