Horror in India as 68 are killed after suspension bridge COLLAPSES: Hundreds of Diwali worshippers are thrown into river leaving scores dead and dozens injured – just a week after the bridge was reopened
- At least 68 people have died and another 30 have been injured near Morbi
- Video footage shows the collapse which left people clinging on for safety
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he is ‘deeply saddened’ by the tragedy
A major rescue operation is underway after a cable bridge collapsed in the Morbi region of Gujarat, Western India, on Sunday leaving at least 68 people dead.
At the time there were approximately 400 people on or around the pedestrian suspension bridge over the country’s Machhu River, authorities said.
State Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi said more than 150 people were on the narrow bridge at the time, and at least 30 people have been confirmed as injured.
Hundreds were plunged into the water below near the town of Morbi while dozens more were left clinging onto the bridge’s twisted wreck to await rescue.
Video footage shows people holding onto the bridge as emergency services struggled to rescue them.
Images show onlookers stunned as the newly opened structure plunged into the water
People were left hanging on to the bridge for safety as a rescue effort went underway
Fifty navy and 30 air force officials were called into action along with a national disaster management team to trace missing people, the government said in a statement.
A five-member special team was appointed to conduct an investigation into the disaster.
The bridge, known as the Julto pul, is a 140-year-old structure that had recently been refurbished and was reopened to the public last week after six months of work.
Images showing the bridge shortly before it collapsed revealed pedestrians were tightly packed together as they made their way across the river.
It was first opened in 1879 and connects the Mahaprabhuji region to Samakantha.
The bridge is a popular attraction for tourists and locals, and was especially busy during this festive season, during which many celebrate Diwali and Chhath Puja.
It had previously suffered significant damage following the 2001 Gujarat earthquake.
Officials said that the collapse of the structure could have been caused by overcrowding.
The bridge – known as Julto pul – is a popular tourist attraction in the Morbi area of Gujarat, western India
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: ‘I am deeply saddened by the tragedy at Morbi. Talked to Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and other officials about this.
‘Relief and rescue operations are going on in full swing and all necessary assistance is being provided to the affected.’
Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendra Patel tweeted: ‘I express my condolences to the families of the citizens who lost their lives in the tragedy of Morbi.
‘The state government will provide Rs 4 lakh to the family of each deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured.’
‘The news of the accident due to the breakdown of the cable bridge on the Machhu river in Morbi, Gujarat is very sad.
‘Taking quick cognizance of the incident, the Gujarat government and administration have given necessary guidelines for relief and rescue. I wish the injured a speedy recovery.’
A view of the site of the collapse as hundreds had been reportedly on the structure as it collapsed
Ambulance services arrive at the hospital as hundreds are feared injured following the collapse
Minister of State Brijesh Merja tweeted: ‘Due to the accident on the suspension bridge, all the private hospitals along with the civil hospital have been ordered to provide immediate treatment.
‘Apart from this, orders have been given to take the injured people out of the water and take them to a private hospital in an ambulance, free of charge. Also, private hospitals have been asked to keep as many doctors as possible on duty.’
The incident comes ahead of elections in Gujarat, which are expected to be held by the year-end with the current term of the Modi’s ruling party’s term ending in February, 2023.
This is an ongoing breaking story and will be updated.