India bridge collapse toll jumps to 134, police detain nine

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AHMEDABAD, India, Oct 31 (2022) – The death toll from a suspension bridge collapse in India rose to 134 on Monday, including many children, as police detained nine people as part of a criminal investigation into one of the deadliest accidents in the country in the past 10 years.

Footage from just before the collapse showed a group of young men taking photos while others tried to rock the bridge from side to side, before they tumbled into the river below as the cables holding it together gave way.

Police in the western state of Gujarat, where the disaster occurred, told Reuters they had detained nine people after registering a criminal case against unnamed people responsible for the renovation, maintenance and management of the bridge. Senior police official Ashok Yadav said details of the detain people would be revealed later in the day.

Local officials told Reuters that the manager of the bridge, a maker of clocks and electrical items, had not inform the authorities that the bridge would be reopened last week after repairs, adding that no fitness certificate had been issued.

The colonial-era footbridge over the Machchhu River in the centre of Morbi town was pack with sightseers enjoying holiday festivities when it collapsed on Sunday evening, plunging people about 10 metres (33 feet) into the river.

Some 400 people had bought tickets to get onto the bridge to celebrate the Diwali and Chhath Puja festivals.

About 35 victims were under 14, according to a list of the deceased seen by Reuters. About 170 people had been rescue by the morning.

The bridge is 1.25 metres (4.1 feet) wide and spans 233 metres (255 yards) connecting the Darbargadh Palace heritage hotel and the town. It was built in 1877 when India was a British colony.

Source: Reuters

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