When a suspension bridge in India’s western Gujarat state collapsed and fell into the River Macchu on Sunday (30 Oct), it killed at least 120 people and wounded dozens.
The death toll is likely to increase as the rescue operation continues, said Mr P. Dekavadiya, the head of police of Morbi.
There were children among the victims.
Reports state as many as 400 people were on the suspension bridge during the accident.
The aforementioned bridge is a 230-metre colonial-era crossing that was built during British rule in India in the 19th century. It is known locally as a Julto pool, and it is a popular tourist attraction in the area.
The accident took place on Sunday, at around 6:40pm local time (SGT 9:10pm).
The bridge had just reopened a week prior, following repairs.
Video footage shows scenes of chaos as bystanders on the river bank try to rescue those trapped in the water as night falls.
Another video broadcasted by TV channels show people clambering the netted remains of the bridge to escape the water.
गुजरात के मोरबी में बड़ा हादसा
केबल ब्रिज पुल टूटने से कई लोग पानी में गिरे,मच्चु नदी पर बना केबल पुल टूटा,
— Kaushik Kanthecha (@Kaushikdd) October 30, 2022
Mr Prateek Vasava, one of the victims in the bridge collapse, told a 24-hour Gujarati-language news channel that he had swam his way to shore.
He also witnessed several children drop into the river, saying, “I wanted to pull some of them along with me but they had drowned or got swept away.”
In addition to that witness account, NDTV reported that other people also swam to safety, with pieces of the bridge partially submerged in the water.
Cause and Subsequent Action
According to state minister Brijesh Merja, more than 80 people have been rescued.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in his home state Gujarat for a three-day visit, said he has instructed the state chief minister to mobilise teams immediately for the search and rescue operation, reported Reuters.
50 navy and 30 air force personnel were deployed to assist the national disaster management team to trace missing people.
A five-member team was appointed to look into the cause of the accident.
The local authorities suspect that the bridge had collapsed due to the overcrowding, as it is currently the holidays for the Diwali festival.
Whereas the opposition party leaders are accusing the government of failing to conduct a thorough technical assessment and load and bearing capacity test before reopening it to the public.
Prime Minister Modi has announced compensation for the injured, as well as the next of kind of those who have been killed.
Families of the deceased will each receive 600,000 rupees (S$10,300) as compensation from state and federal governments.
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Featured Images: Twitter (@Santhosh4JSP & @Kaushikdd)
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