At least 141 people have died and many are injured after a centuries-old bridge collapsed into a river Sunday evening in the Morbi district of Gujarat.
The bridge dates back to the Colonia era, but it had just re-opened on October 26 after extensive repairs were carried out.
Footage shows at least two people deliberately shaking the suspension bridge moments before its collapse. The bridge appeared to snap and plunged the crowd gathered on it, most of them women, children and the elderly, into the river below.
“There were a lot of young children among the dead,” one rescuer told Indian news channel, NDTV. “It was a Sunday evening so families had come out for a stroll because it’s a popular tourist spot.”
Local officials said there were 400 people on the bridge and hopes of finding more survivors are slowly fading, although rescue operations are still underway. More than 177 people have been rescued so far, they said.
Gujarat police investigating the incident have arrested nine people. All nine suspects are associated with a company responsible for maintaining the bridge and are being investigated for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, senior police officer Ashok Kumar Yadav said in a statement.
He also said there may be more arrests but did not specify whether those seen shaking the bridge had been identified or found.
“We won’t let the guilty get away, we won’t spare anyone,” Yadav said.
About 35 victims were under 14, Reuters has reported.
Narendrasinh Jadeja, whose friend lost seven members of his family, including four children, said: "I cannot express how angry and helpless I am feeling."
Families of victims were seen crying, hugging each other and mourning in silence as they awaited their turn to lay the bodies to rest.
People across the country held candlelight vigils to pay tribute to the victims.