The death toll from the collapse of the Morbi suspension bridge in Gujarat climbed to 130 as more bodies were pulled from the Machchhu River by rescuers today. The bridge in Morbi had reopened just a week ago after repairs. However, the death toll is expected to rise further. Fortunately, more than 177 people have been rescued so far, officials said.
There was overcrowding on the bridge at the time as people celebrated the Diwali festival. About 350 people were on and around the bridge at the time of the collapse, said Brijesh Merja, a minister in the Gujarat government. The incident occurred at about 6:30 pm.
A local official said most of those who had died were women, children or elderly. Police, military and disaster response teams were deployed immediately. The rescue efforts continued through the night. Rescue operations are still underway.
Videos on social media showed dozens clinging onto the wreckage as emergency teams attempted to rescue them. Some survivors climbed up the bridge’s broken netting, and others managed to swim to the river banks.
Morbi suspension bridge collapses – many people fall into the river along the bridge. pic.twitter.com/ufAeLOG22P
— Express Gujarat (@ExpressGujarat) October 30, 2022
The Prime Minister’s Office announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from PMNRF (Prime Minister National Relief Fund) for the next of kin of each of those who lost their lives in the mishap in Morbi. Rs. 50,000 would be given to the injured. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Gujarat on a three-day visit.
PM @narendramodi has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from PMNRF for the next of kin of each of those who lost their lives in the mishap in Morbi. The injured would be given Rs. 50,000.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) October 30, 2022
Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel also announced relief of Rs 4 lakh for the families of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured. Patel cancelled all his programmes and left for Morbi. “Direct monitoring of the situation and necessary coordination with the system will be achieved by reaching the site in person,” the CM tweeted.
The renovator of the bridge had not taken a fitness certificate from the authorities before reopening it, local municipal body’s chief Sandipsinh Zala told NDTV.
“Renovation happened last week,” Gujarat minister Brijesh Merja told NDTV. “We are also shocked. We are looking into the matter. The government takes responsibility for this tragedy.”