Gujarat’s Morbi town cable bridge collapsed on the Machhu river on Sunday leading to the death of over 120 people. At the time of the incident, 400-500 people were on the bridge, and when it collapsed, hundreds of them fell into the river. Several visuals and videos have emerged showing people holding onto the cables of the collapsed bridge and even swimming to navigate themselves to safety. The death total in bridge collapse incidents has now reached 135 and over 177 people have been rescued so far. As many as 135 bodies have been recovered by the rescuers and several people are feared missing. The search operation is assumably to persist for more than 24 hours, state authority said.
Reports said several hundred people were on the bridge when it collapsed at around 18:40 IST (13:10 GMT) on Sunday. A video shot before the collapse showed it packed with people and swaying and multiple gripping the net on its sides.
A local official conveyed most of those who had died were females, juveniles, or seniors. The bridge in Morbi had been reopened just a week ago after restorations. There was overcrowding on the bridge at the time as people celebrated the Diwali carnival, administrators said. The 230m (754ft) bridge on the Machchu river was built during British rule in the 19th Century.
The state government has deployed almost 200 jawans from the Army, Navy, NDRF, SDRF, local fire brigade teams, and local divers and swimmers from surrounding districts. Collector of Rajkot, Arun Babu camping at Morbi and helping local authorities in search and rescue operations. He told the media that to decrease the water level at the incident site, just a few minutes ago through a limited burst a check dam was demolished. Once the water recedes it will help the search team to search bodies. He estimates that the search operation is likely to continue for the next 24 hours.
Five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by an IAS officer has set up by Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel to inquire into the suspension bridge collapse in Morbi town. The SIT will be headed by Commissioner of Municipalities Rajkumar Beniwal, Secretary, of the Roads and Building Department, Sandeep Vasava, Inspector General of Police Subhash Trivedi, and two engineers specialized in structural and quality control.
The administrations have promised a full investigation. Queries are being asked about whether safety checks were done before the bridge was reopened. It is a popular tourist attraction known locally as Julto Pul (swinging bridge). After Six-seven months of repair work by a private limited company, but had not received the municipality’s “fitness certificate”, an official said told PTI. The more than century-old bridge in Morbi city caved in around 6.30 pm when it was crammed with people.
Gujarat is the home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has announced recompense for the families of victims. He said he was “deeply saddened by the tragedy”.
Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi has said that criminal cases under various sections of the law registered in connection with the happening.
Prateek Vasava was on the bridge at the time of the incident. He spoke to 24 Hours Gujarati-language news channel about how he had paddled to the river bank. Several minors fell into the river, he said, counting: “I wanted to pull some of them along with me however, they had saturated or got swept away.”
Gujarat’s CM Bhupendra Patel, who revoked all his anticipated occasions for Sunday, arrived at the collapse site late last night to take stock of the trouble. He also visited the civil district hospital where the injured were admitted. CM Bhupendra Patel had spoken with Prime Minister Narendra Modi shortly after the incident happened, and the latter had called for “urgent mobilization” of teams.