Morbi bridge collapse in India: 9 arrested over bridge collapse that killed 134 people
Nine people were arrested suspension bridge collapse in the western Indian state of Gujarat where at least 134 people died on Sunday, police said.
All the suspects are linked to Oreva, a Gujarat-based electrical appliance manufacturer that was carrying out maintenance on the 230-metre-long bridge in Morba town, senior police officer Ashok Kumar Yadav told reporters on Monday. The bridge only reopened last week after repairs.
The nine include two managers, two ticket sellers, two contractors and three security guards, according to Yadav.
The suspects are being investigated for murder not amounting to murder, said Yadav, who added that a special investigation team is probing the incident.
At least 134 people, including 30 children, were killed when a narrow bridge collapsed into the river at around 6:30pm local time on Sunday evening as residents of a riverside town joined Diwali celebrations.
An estimated 200 people were on the bridge at the time, said Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi, who said the cable at one end appeared to have snapped.
Built more than a century ago, the bridge is just 1.25 meters (four feet) wide and hangs over the Machchhu River to form the gateway to Morba, a city that still bears the architectural legacy of British rule.
Photos from the scene on Monday showed people gathering on the riverbank next to the damaged metal walkway, which dangled at a sharp angle into the water.
Search efforts involving hundreds of members of state and national disaster relief teams and the Indian military will resume on Tuesday, district official Vishal Kanjaria told CNN.
According to Vishal Kanjaria, Morbi district administrative official, a total of 170 people have been rescued by Monday evening. Some remained in hospital and others returned home, although the exact breakdown is not yet known.
Speaking at a press conference early Monday morning, Sanghavi did not say how many people were missing, but videos on social media showed dozens in the water after the bridge collapsed.
TV footage showed people holding cables and debris from the bridge as emergency teams tried to reach them, Reuters reported. Some climbed the destroyed structure to reach the banks of the river, while others swam to safety.
The families of the victims will receive compensation from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
Speaking at a campaign rally ahead of state elections in Gujarat on Monday, Modi said his “heart is filled with love and is with the families of those who are suffering”.
“The state government has set up a commission to investigate the incident. I assure the people of the country that nothing will be lacking in relief and rescue efforts,” Modi said.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said the state government would provide compensation of around $5,000 per family of the deceased and around $600 for the injured.
“I express my condolences to the families of the citizens who lost their lives in the tragedy,” he wrote on Twitter.
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