India Morbi bridge collapse: 9 arrested in bridge collapse that killed 134
Nine people were arrested the collapse of a suspension bridge in the Indian state of Gujarat, where at least 134 people were killed on Sunday, police said.
The suspects are all linked to Oreva, a Gujarat-based electronics manufacturer that was conducting maintenance work on the 230-meter-long bridge in the city of Morbi, senior police official Ashok Kumar Yadav told reporters on Monday. The bridge was only reopened last week after repairs.
The nine include two managers, two ticket clerks, two contractors and three security guards, according to Yadav.
The suspects are under investigation for manslaughter, which does not amount to murder, said Yadav, adding that a special investigative team was investigating the incident.
At least 134 people, including 30 children, died when the narrow bridge collapsed into the river at around 6:30 p.m. local time on Sunday evening, as locals in the riverside town attended Diwali celebrations.
About 200 people were believed to be on the bridge at the time, according to Gujarat Interior Minister Harsh Sanghavi, who said a cable at one end had snapped.
Built more than a century ago, the bridge is just 1.25 meters wide and spans the Machchhu River to form a gateway into Morbi, a town that still bears the architectural legacy of British rule.
Photos from the scene on Monday showed people gathered on the river bank next to the shattered metal pier, which hung at a sharp angle into the water.
Search efforts involving hundreds of employees from state and national disaster relief teams and India’s military are set to resume on Tuesday, district official Vishal Kanjaria told CNN.
A total of 170 people had been rescued as of Monday evening, according to Vishal Kanjaria, an administrative official for the Morbi district. Some remain hospitalized and others have returned home, although an exact breakdown is not yet known.
At a news conference early Monday morning, Sanghavi didn’t say how many people are missing, but a social media video showed dozens in the water after the bridge collapsed.
Television footage showed people holding the bridge’s cables and remains as emergency teams tried to reach them, Reuters reported. Some climbed the ruined structure to reach the riverbank while others swam to safety.
The victims’ families will receive compensation from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, according to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Monday, at a campaign rally ahead of the state elections in Gujarat, Modi said his “heart is full of love and with the families of those who are suffering.”
“The state government has set up a committee to investigate the incident. I assure the country’s people that there will be no shortage of relief and rescue efforts,” Modi said.
Gujarat Prime Minister Bhupendra Patel said the state government would provide compensation equivalent to about US$5,000 per family of the deceased and about US$600 each for those injured.
“My condolences to the families of the citizens who lost their lives in the tragedy,” he tweeted.
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