CCTV visuals moments before crash show people shaking the British-era hanging bridge
Ahmedabad: At least 141 people have died after a British-era bridge in Gujarat’s Morbi collapsed last evening. About 177 people have been saved and teams are searching for several others who are still missing.
Around 500 people, including women and children, were on the suspension bridge when the cables supporting it snapped, sending people crashing into the river below. The bridge could take the weight of only about 125 people.
The CCTV footage showed that people shook the bridge and it came crashing. In the video, people can be seen holding on to the bridge and trying to swing it using its cables. The bridge was crammed with people and as they shook the bridge, it swung and suddenly crashed.
Many were performing ‘Chhath puja’ rituals on the 150-year-old bridge located 300 km from Vadodara. People fell on top of each other after the bridge snapped. Videos showed many desperately clinging to the remains of the bridge while some were seen swimming to safety.
The bridge over Machchhu River had been shut for seven months for repairs. It was reopened to the public on Oct. 26, the Gujarati New Year, without a fitness certificate from the civic authorities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Gujarat, said rescue and relief operations have been going on since yesterday and the Centre is extending all help to the State. He said while he was pained, but also has to follow the path of duty.
A criminal case has been registered and a five-member high-powered committee is probing the bridge collapse. “A case has been registered under charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and intentional act causing death against whoever is found responsible,” he said.
The renovator of the century-old bridge had not taken a safety certificate before reopening it, local municipal body’s chief Sandipsinh Zala said. Five teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) worked through the night to find the missing. The Army, Navy and Air Force also joined the operation later.
The State Government has announced a compensation of Rs. 4 lakh to the family members of each of those who died in the accident and Rs. 50,000 for the injured. The Prime Minister also announced a financial assistance of Rs. 2 lakh each to the families of the victims.