At least 120 dead in the collapse of a recently repaired suspension bridge in India

At least 120 dead in the collapse of a recently repaired suspension bridge in India

A capture of the video images that circulated on the networks after the collapse of the bridge. Photo: T.W.

At least 120 people died this Sunday in India when A recently repaired colonial-era suspension bridge collapsed in western Gujarat state, sending dozens of people into the river.

Authorities said that the cables that held the structure gave way when about 500 people were on the bridge celebrating a festival.

“We have recovered 120 bodies so far. The balance could increase as the search operation continues,” said P. Dekavadiya, chief of police in the western city of Morbi, where the accident occurred, reported the AFP agency.

People fell on top of each other after the bridge collapsed. People had flocked to the bridge for rituals and for the Diwali festival. There were many children and women among the victims,” ​​a witness told local media.

Videos released, which have not yet been verified, showed people hanging from the remains of the structure in the dark and trying to swim to shore to safety.

The 233-meter suspension bridge, built in the British Mandate era, had been opened to the public this week after seven months of repairs.

Broadcaster NDTV reported that the bridge reopened on Wednesday despite not having a safety certificate and that footage released on Saturday showed it tottering.

Authorities launched a rescue operation after the collapse with divers deployed to the area to find the missing.

In addition, dozens of army and navy soldiers were involved in the rescue operation.

Authorities planned to stop the water from the nearby control dam and use pumps to empty the river and speed up the search operation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was visiting Gujarat, announced compensation for the families of the victims and those injured in the accident.

Modi urged “urgent mobilization of teams for rescue (operations),” his office tweeted. “He has asked that the situation be closely and continuously monitored, and (that the authorities) extend all possible help to those affected.”

The Gujarat government describes the bridge on its official website as “an engineering marvel built at the turn of the century”.

Other similar tragedies in India

Infrastructure accidents, including bridges, are common in India because many are old and lack of maintenance.

An overpass collapsed in 2016 in the middle of a busy street in the eastern city of Calcutta, leaving at least 26 dead. Rescue teams pulled out about a hundred people from under the huge pieces of cement and metal.

In 2011, at least 32 people were killed when a bridge packed with people attending a festival collapsed in the northeast of the country, about 30 kilometers from Darjeeling.

Less than a week later, 30 people were killed when a pedestrian bridge over a river in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh collapsed.

In 2006, another 150-year-old bridge collapsed under a passenger train in Bihar state, leaving at least 34 victims.

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