December 3, 2022

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India’s state minister says at least 40 dead in bridge collapse in India

India's state minister says at least 40 dead in bridge collapse in India

AHMEDABAD (Reuters) – At least 40 people were killed when a pedestrian bridge collapsed in the western Indian state of Gujarat, drowning hundreds of people in a river, a state minister said.

Local TV channel Zee News said more than 400 people were on the suspension bridge over the Machu River in the town of Morbi at the time of the collapse.

Television footage showed dozens of people clinging to cables and the twisted remains of the collapsed bridge as emergency teams struggled to rescue them. Some boarded them to try to make their way to the river banks, while others swam to safety.

“At least 40 people have died so far and 30 others have been injured,” said Brijesh Marja, the minister and MP from Morbi. The number of casualties may rise as rescue operations continue.”

The historic 230-meter-high bridge was built during British rule in the 19th century. It was closed for six-month renovation and reopened to the public last week.

Officials said the victims were mostly local residents who had been visiting the bridge for recreational purposes.

Morbi is one of the largest ceramic manufacturing groups in the world and accounts for more than 80% of ceramic production in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in his home state of Gujarat for a three-day visit, said he has instructed the Prime Minister to urgently mobilize the teams for the rescue operation.

The incident comes ahead of elections in Gujarat, which are expected to take place by the end of the year as the current term of Modi’s ruling party expires in February 2023.

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Reporting and Additional Writing by Rupam Jain; Editing by John Stonestreet and Angus McSwan

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.