More than 50 children were among the 135 people who died when a bridge collapsed Sunday in the Indian state of Gujarat, according to a list of victims published by authorities on Wednesday.
Investigators are investigating why a former suspension bridge in the town of Morbi collapsed, sending dozens of people into the river below. one of the worst public safety incidents to hit the country in recent years.
Questions have been raised about how the narrow walkway collapsed and the role of a construction company responsible for maintaining the colonial-era structure, which reopened to the public last week after correction.
Here’s what we know.
Some 200 people were said to be on the bridge along the Machchhu river in the city of Morbi when it collapsed on October 30 at around 6:30 in the evening. area, according to Gujarat authorities.
According to statistics released on Wednesday, 54 children are among the dead. Most are under the age of 10 – the youngest is a 2-year-old boy.
The 36-second video shared by the Morbi District Administration through the CNN News-18 link shows many young people gathered on the bridge moments before it collapsed.
The video appears to show some people rocking the bridge from side to side before the structure gives way, plunging the people standing on it into the river.
Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi said on October 31 it looks like a rope is stuck.
Later photos show people gathered by the river next to a broken walkway, hanging at a sharp angle to the water.
Survivors and witnesses of the deadly accident described scenes of chaos.
“People were hanging from the bridge after the accident, but they slipped and fell into the river and collapsed,” Raju, who gave only one name, told Reuters. “I didn’t sleep all night because I helped in the rescue operation. I brought many children to the hospital.”
Narendrasinh Jadeja, whose friend lost seven members of his family, including four children, told Reuters: “I cannot express my anger and my broken heart.”
The Morbi Suspension Bridge was built during British rule around 1900 and is 230 meters (755 feet) long and only 1.25 meters (4 feet) wide.
For decades, the riverside town has been a popular tourist destination, its cobbled streets bearing the legacy of colonial rule.
The bridge was closed for six months of repairs in April, according to an executive at Oreva, a Gujarat-based electrical equipment manufacturer that handled the maintenance.
The video shows people clinging to the wreckage after the deadly bridge crash
At the opening ceremony on October 26, the executive director told reporters the structure will not require any major work for “eight to 10 years,” according to a video of the event posted on social media.
A five-member special inquiry committee has been set up to look into the incident, Gujarat Home Minister Sanghavi said on October 31.
Search and rescue efforts by hundreds of personnel from national and international aid agencies and the Indian army are ongoing.
Nine people have been arrested and are being investigated for murder charges, state police said on October 31. All of the suspects are related to Oreva.
There were two managers, two ticket clerks, two contractors and three security guards, said senior police officer Ashok Kumar Yadav.
Since the deadly disease, public scrutiny has turned to Oreva, a company based in Ahmedabad, the capital city of Gujarat.
Oreva started as a clockmaker before diversifying into electronics, according to its website, which the firm calls the “World’s Largest Clockmaker” and “one of the Biggest Brands in India.”
CNN has reached out to Oreva several times, but has received no response.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the site of Morbi’s defeat on November 1.
After an aerial survey of the area, he was found overseeing rescue operations while standing at one end of a collapsed suspension bridge.
“Went to Morbi, saw the damage to the bridge. Met the families of the dead and offered condolences. I visited the scene of the accident and went to the hospital where the injured are recovering, Modi said after visiting a local hospital.
The Indian leader said he met with workers involved in the relief efforts and chaired a review meeting.
The Gujarat Chief Minister’s office said Modi had “assured them of all assistance from the state.”
Search and rescue efforts continued Tuesday as divers searched the area for bodies.
The families of the victims will get compensation from the Prime Minister’s fund, Modi said earlier.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said the state government would give the equivalent of $5,000 to each family of the deceased and $600 each to the injured.
The funeral of the victims will begin on the first of November.
World leaders have expressed condolences to the victims and their families following the tragedy.
US President Joe Biden sent his condolences to those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic.
“Today, our hearts are with India. Jill and I offer our condolences to the families who lost loved ones in the bridge collapse and join the people of Gujarat in mourning the many life was cut short,” Biden said in a statement on Monday.
“The United States and India are great friends, with deep ties between our people. In this difficult hour, we stand with the people of India.
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his love for Modi, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported.
“On behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese people, I would like to express our sincere condolences to the victims and send our deepest condolences to their families and those who were injured,” Xi said. to CCTV.