Suspension bridge collapses in India: at least 60 dead

Suspension bridge collapses in India: at least 60 dead

UPGRADE DAY

At least 60 people died Sunday evening in India when a suspension bridge spanning a river collapsed in the western state of Gujarat, a local government official said.  

“Sixty people died. More than 82 were rescued,” the official, Brijesh Merja, told AFP.

The bridge over the Machchhu River, located in Morbi, about 200 kilometers west of Ahmedabad , Gujarat's main town, dates back to British colonial times and had just reopened to the public after months of construction.

Authorities estimated that 500 people, including women and children, were on and around the deck when the cables supporting it broke.

According to local officials quoted by media, those on the bridge were performing rituals as part of a religious festival.

More than 100 people were still wanted, according to local media which showed videos of people catching hold of debris from the bridge structure in the dark.

Divers

A rescue operation was launched, involving divers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Gujarat, where he is from, called for “the urgent mobilization of rescue teams”, and the provision of aid for all victims, his cabinet tweeted.

Accidents on old and poorly maintained infrastructure are common in India, especially on bridges.

In 2016 the rupture of a footbridge over a busy street in the city of Kolkata (east) had caused the death of at least 26 people.

In 2011 at least 32 people had lost their lives in the collapse of a bridge on which there was a crowd of participants of at a festival in northeast India, about 30 kilometers from the city of Darjeeling.

Less than a week later, about 30 people were killed when a footbridge broke crossing a river in the state of Aruchnal Pradesh (north-east).

In 2006, at least 34 people were killed by the collapse of an old bridge. x of 150 years on a passenger train at a station in Bihar state (east).