Not to be deterred, I took a detour and reached the front of the Taj. I was on the sea face looking at the front of the Taj from its right!
Firemen had hoisted ladders and were climbing into the first floor
Police trying to provide a security cordon!
Cherry picker had docked on third floor window and firemen entered.
Water for the fire fighting came from the sea! Notice the Staging Area in front of the Gateway of India; I was on the other side last night!
Another Cherrypicker docked on second floor; Note there are at least four ladders reaching the first floor and I saw about 20 firemen climb in!
A policeman taking a moment to rest his eyes!
All appeared relaxed; Then at about 10:15 am, there were two huge blasts inside the Taj; Withing minutes about 12-15 of the firemen scampered out of the windows and down the ladders. Rumor on the street was there was a wounded terrorist running around and the forces were trying to blast him. The Police said forces were defusing bombs or possible bobbytraps.
Then several ambulances rushed to the from entrance of the Main Taj and reversed towards the front door! I saw folks taking several stretchers in. Here you also notice some medical personnel returning to the Ambulance on the right.
Beautiful Navy helicopter circled in front of the Taj; I took this as a mark of respect to the Queen of Mumbai!
Another of the Helicopter! Machine gun at the ready!
See Firemen rolling their hoses in front of the Taj; To me this was clear indication that the operation was complete!
Another Attack helicopter came up to check things out!
I befriended a couple of Police Officers who escorted me closer; Any closer they would have drafted me into the Services! Amazing how many doors a little bit of heavily accented Marathi can open! Ambulances still waiting outside! I had to leave!
Here are Officers Bhangale and Officer Tupe! Jaihind!
Picture Update from ~ 7:30 am Indian Time; Saturday Nov 29th
Follow my updates on Twitter http://twitter.com/arunshanbhag
We woke to good news in Mumbai! The operations were nearly over! The Taj operation was near complete.
The street next to our House leading to the Taj was still blocked by Fire Engines; Smoke from the fires and fog from the water, created an ethereal site; and belied the tragedy.
(click for larger image)
My path leading to the Taj was blocked from this other side as well; The commandos guarding did not even let me approach their positions! 😦