India’s Gujarat reels from deadly bridge collapse
Death toll in bridge collapse rises to 134 as officials fear the number could grow amid ongoing search for the missing.
Rescue teams in the western Indian state of Gujarat are searching for people who are missing after a century-old cable suspension bridge collapsed into a river on Sunday, killing more than 130 people.
The death toll rose to 134 on Monday, and officials fear the number could grow as authorities opened a criminal case into one of the deadliest accidents in the country in the past 10 years.
The 232 metres (761 feet) long bridge in Morbi district dates back to British colonial rule in the 19th century. It was reopened to the public only last week after renovation.
Visuals from the disaster site showed the bridge split in the middle and the metal carriageway hanging down, its metal cables snapped in places.
At least 177 survivors were pulled from the Machhu River and teams from the armed forces were searching for others still missing, said Jigar Khunt, an information department official in Gujarat.
Authorities said the bridge collapsed because it could not handle the weight of the large crowd, as the Hindu festival season drew hundreds of sightseers to the bridge, which was closed for six months for repair.
It was not immediately clear exactly how many people were on the bridge when it collapsed but survivors said it was so densely packed that the crowd was unable to move to safety when the cable strings began to snap.
Local news channels ran pictures of the missing shared by concerned relatives searching for their loved ones. Many family members raced to overcrowded hospitals looking for their kin.
India’s infrastructure has long been marred by safety concerns, sometimes leading to major disasters on its highways and bridges.
The bridge collapse is Asia’s third major disaster involving large crowds in a month.
On Saturday, a Halloween crowd surge killed more than 150, mostly young, people, who attended festivities in Itaewon, a neighbourhood in Seoul, South Korea. On October 1, police in Indonesia used tear gas at a stadium during a football match, causing a stampede that killed 133 people as spectators tried to flee.