Morbi, India (AP): Officials are not sure how crowded the bridge was when the bridge collapsed, as the accident took place due to the pressure exerted by overcrowding on the years-old bridge on the occasion of the festival.
At least 132 people died and many are injured after a century-old cable suspension bridge collapsed into a river Sunday evening in the western Indian state of Gujarat, sending hundreds plunging in the water, officials said.
Authorities said the 19th-century, colonial-era pedestrian bridge over the Machchu river in the state’s Morbi district collapsed because it could not handle the weight of the large crowd, as the Hindu festival season drew hundreds of people to the recently opened tourist attraction. The bridge had been closed for renovation for almost six months and was reopened just four days ago.
It was not immediately clear exactly how many people were on the 232-meter (761-foot) -long bridge, but officials fear the death toll could rise. State minister Harsh Sanghvi told reporters that 132 people have died so far and that many were admitted to hospitals.
Sanghvi said emergency responders and rescuers worked overnight to search for the survivors and those killed and injured were mostly teens, women and older people. Teams from the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force were also dispatched to help with the rescue.
Videos on social media showed people clinging onto the metal cables of the partly submerged bridge in distress as emergency teams and rescuers used boats and inflatable tires to reach them. Some people were seen swimming ashore to safety. Others, who were fished from the waters, were carried away and transported to the hospitals in private vehicles and ambulances.