What do we know about India’s Morbi Bridge collapse in Gujarat?
how Authorities are investigating the incident. questions have been raised about how the narrow passageway collapsed and the role of the power company tasked with maintaining the colonial-era structure, which opened to the public only after renovations last week.
Here’s what we know.
About 200 people were on a bridge over the Machchu River in Morbi when it collapsed into the water on October 30 at around 6:30 p.m. local time, according to Gujarat authorities.
According to officials, at least 30 children were among the 135 killed. It is not clear how many people are missing, and authorities have not released the number of casualties.
Video shows moment of deadly bridge collapse in India
The 36-second video, released by the Morbi district administration via CNN affiliate News-18, shows a large crowd of young men gathered on the bridge moments before it collapsed.
The video shows some of the men swinging the bridge from side to side before the structure gives way, plunging the people standing on it into the river.
Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sangavi said on October 31 that the cable seems to have snapped.
Later photos show people gathering on the river bank next to a damaged metal walkway that hangs at a sharp angle into the water.
Survivors and witnesses of the fatal incident described scenes of chaos.
“People were hanging on to the bridge after the accident, but they slipped and fell into the river when it collapsed,” Raju, who gave only one name, told Reuters. “I couldn’t sleep all night because I helped in the rescue work. I brought many children to the hospital.”
Narendasingh Jadeja, whose friend lost seven members of his family, including four children, told Reuters. “I can’t express how angry and helpless I feel.”
The Morbi Suspension Bridge was built during the British rule around 1900 and is 230 meters long and only 1.25 meters wide.
For decades, it has been a popular tourist destination in a riverside town whose cobblestone streets bear the architectural legacy of colonial rule.
The bridge was closed for repairs for six months in April, according to the CEO of Gujarat-based electrical appliance maker Oreva, which oversaw the maintenance work.
At the reopening ceremony on October 26, CEO told reporters the structure won’t need any major work for “eight to ten years,” according to a video of the event posted on social media.
A five-member special investigation committee has been set up to probe the incident, Gujarat Home Minister Sanghavi said on October 31.
Search and recovery efforts by state and national disaster relief teams and hundreds of Indian military personnel are ongoing.
State police said on Oct. 31 that nine people had been arrested and are being investigated on charges of felony murder. All suspects are linked to Orewa.
They include two managers, two ticket sellers, two contractors and three security guards, according to senior police officer Ashok Kumar Yadav.
Ever since the deadly incident, public scrutiny has turned to Oreva, a company based in Gujarat’s largest city, Ahmedabad.
Oreva started as a watchmaker before diversifying into electronics, according to its website, which describes the company as “the world’s largest watchmaker” and “one of the major Indian brands”.
CNN contacted Oreva several times, but did not receive a response.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the site of the fatal collapse in Morbi on November 1.
After an aerial survey of the area, he was seen conducting rescue operations while standing at one end of the collapsed suspension bridge.
“Went to Morby, who witnessed the terrible accident on the bridge. He met the families of the victims and expressed his condolences. I visited the site of the tragedy and went to the hospital where the injured are recovering,” Modi tweeted after visiting the local hospital.
The Indian leader added that he met the personnel involved in the rescue operation and led a review meeting.
The Gujarat chief minister’s office tweeted that Modi had “assured them of all possible help from the government”.
Search and recovery efforts continued Tuesday as divers scanned the area for bodies.
The families of the victims will receive compensation from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, Modi said earlier.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said the state government would provide an equivalent compensation of about $5,000 to each family of the deceased and $600 each to the injured.
It is expected that the cremation of the victims will begin on November 1.
World leaders paid tribute to the victims and their families.
US President Joe Biden expressed his condolences to those who lost their relatives during the collapse.
“Our hearts are with India today. Jill and I extend our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in the bridge collapse and join the people of Gujarat in mourning the loss of so many,” Biden said in a statement Monday.
“The United States and India are indispensable partners with deep ties between our citizens. We will continue to stand and support the Indian people at this difficult time.”
China’s President Xi Jinping also expressed his sympathy to Modi, China’s state-run CCTV channel reported.
“On behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese people, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the victims and express our sincere condolences to their families and the injured,” Xi said, according to CCTV.
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