Death toll in India's bridge collapse rises to 132

2022-10-31 13:20:14Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Death toll in a pedestrian bridge collapse in the western Indian state of Gujarat Monday rose to 132, local media reports quoted officials as saying.

About 177 people have been rescued and officials said rescue operations were underway throughout the night.

The British-era pedestrian bridge collapsed Sunday evening, plunging hundreds of people into the Machchhu River in Morbi town about 241 km west of Gandhinagar, the capital city of Gujarat.

Local minister Harsh Sanghavi told a media briefing, "132 deaths have been reported so far."

The dead included women and children.

Television footage showed survivors hanging off the partly-submerged suspension bridge. Another video showed people climbing up netted wire remains of the bridge to avoid falling into the river.

Following the bridge collapse, authorities rushed rescue teams to the spot to carry out rescue operations.

Eyewitnesses told media outlets that over 400 people were on the bridge at the time of its collapse.

The bridge is a popular tourist attraction in the area that was opened for the public just days after repairs.

"Renovation happened last week. We are also shocked. We are looking into the matter," local minister Brijesh Merja was quoted by local television news channel NDTV as saying. "The government takes responsibility for this tragedy."

Apart from State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams, authorities sought help from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Indian Navy, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army.

The teams reached the spot Sunday late at night and immediately swung into action to assist in rescue efforts.

The cause of the bridge collapse was not immediately known, but local authorities suggested overcrowding as the reason.

Officials said about 19 people have been admitted to the hospital with serious injuries. "An isolation ward has also been set up in the civil hospital for treatment of those injured in the bridge collapse," Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel's Office said.

Patel is in Morbi to oversee the relief and rescue efforts. He also visited the injured who are undergoing treatment in the hospital.

Meanwhile, a local government of Gujarat has ordered a probe into the accident.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently in his home state Gujarat. He has expressed grief and stated he was "deeply saddened by the tragedy."

Modi has announced compensation for the injured and victim families that lost their kin.

The local government has also announced separate compensation for the victims. 


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