NEW DELHI (AP) — At least 60 people have died and many fear injuries after a cable bridge collapsed over a river in the western Indian state of Gujarat on Sunday evening, throwing hundreds of people to the ground. water, officials said.
Authorities said the 19th century colonial-era bridge over the Machchu River in the state’s Morbi district had collapsed because it could not support the weight of the large crowd. The bridge had been closed for renovations for nearly six months and reopened just four days ago.
It was unclear exactly how many people were on the bridge, a major tourist attraction in the area, but officials fear the death toll could rise. State Minister Brijesh Merja told reporters that 60 people had died so far and 17 people had been hospitalized.
Merja said paramedics and paramedics were searching for survivors and those killed and injured were mostly teenagers, women and the elderly.
“A rescue operation is underway,” Merja was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency. “According to reports, several people were injured. They are rushed to hospitals.
Videos on social media showed people clinging to the metal cables of the partially submerged bridge in distress as emergency crews and rescuers used boats and inflatable tires to reach them. Some people were seen swimming towards shore to safety. Others, who were fished out of the waters, were washed away and transported to hospitals in private vehicles and ambulances.
Local news channels aired photos of the missing shared by worried relatives looking for their loved ones.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in his home state of Gujarat for a three-day visit, said he was “deeply saddened by the tragedy”. His office announced compensation to the families of the dead and called for swift rescue efforts.
Meanwhile, the state government said it had formed a special team to investigate the disaster.
The bridge collapse is Asia’s third major disaster in a month.
On Saturday, a wave of Halloween crowds killed more than 150 people, mostly young people, who attended the festivities in Itaewon, a district of Seoul, South Korea. On October 1, Indonesian police fired tear gas at a football match, causing a crush that killed 132 people as spectators tried to flee.
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