More than 130 killed in India suspension bridge collapse

© K K Productions via AP

At least 132 people were killed in the western Indian state of Gujarat on Sunday when a footbridge packed with sightseers enjoying holiday festivities collapsed and plunged them into the river below.

“The death toll in the bridge collapse incident has gone up to 132. The search and rescue operations are continuing,” said local official NK Muchhar on Monday, adding that the toll could rise further.

Armed forces personnel along with national disaster management and emergency teams from nearby districts were deployed to trace missing people and help with rescue operations, Muchhar said.

Reuters TV footage earlier showed dozens of people clinging onto the cables and twisted remains of the bridge over the Machhu River in the town of Morbi as emergency teams struggled to rescue them.

Some clambered up the broken structure to try to make their way to the riverbanks, while others swam to safety. A number of children were among the victims.

Prateek Vasava, who swam to the riverbank after falling from the bridge, told 24 Hours Gujarati-language news channel that he witnessed several children drop into the river.

“I wanted to pull some of them along with me but they had drowned or got swept away,” he said.

The bridge had collapsed in just a few seconds, he said.

Authorities said more than 400 people were on and around the colonial-era suspension bridge at the time of the collapse. State Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi said more than 150 people were on the bridge itself.

The bridge had drawn many sightseers celebrating the Diwali, or festival of lights, and Chhath Puja holidays.

Morbi is renowned as a ceramics manufacturing center.

(Reuters)


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