Indian police file murder charges over Morby Bridge collapse that kills 134


NEW DELHI — Indian officials on Monday filed murder charges against the operator of a suspension bridge and launched an investigation after a pedestrian bridge collapsed, killing at least 134 people, sending tourists tumbling into the Mahhu River in western Gujarat state.

In addition to the dead, many people were still missing as of noon on Monday, Gujarat police officer Ashok Yadav told The Washington Post. Some media, citing unnamed officials, said the death toll could be higher, above 140. The accident happened in Morby, a riverside town famous for its Victorian bridges and old town, at the height of the holiday season: tourists have been celebrating Diwali and the Gujarati New Year this October. 26.

Indian pedestrian bridge collapses, at least 132 killed

Video from the scene showed a group of people clicking on smartphone photos on the crowded bridge on Sunday night when it started shaking and suddenly disappeared. Some officials estimated that 400 people were crowded on the bridge when the suspension cables broke and the 760-foot span collapsed.

Men, women and children were seen clinging to the broken bridge above the waterline. Some crawled back to shore along crumpled railings; others got lost in the water. The Indian military has deployed army units and navy divers to assist in the rescue efforts.

As rescue operations continued on Monday, scrutiny turned to the company responsible for renovating and operating the bridge.Contractor Oreva is a large manufacturer known for producing timepieces Electric bikes, completed a six-month bridge renovation on Friday, just in time for the Gujarati New Year. City official Sandeepsinh Zala told The Indian Express that it reopened to tourists without prior government permission.

Zala also criticized the bridge operator for allowing tourists on the bridge without controlling the flow of people.

A Morby police official, who asked not to be named, said local police had so far detained eight people for questioning because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

In the initial legal action, local police did not name Oreva or any other company, but said manslaughter charges would be filed against “the agency responsible for maintaining the bridge” and “the governing body.” In the U.S. legal system, manslaughter is not a crime of murder, similar to manslaughter.

“The bridge appears to have collapsed because there were too many people trying to shake it from side to side in the middle of the bridge,” an Oreva spokesman said, according to the Indian Express.

It is unclear why the company, which specializes in wall clocks, electric bicycles and ceramic products, was contracted to operate the bridge. The company could not be reached for comment on Monday.

The bridge, highlighted on the official tourism website of Gujarat, is nearly a century old and still popular with tourists. It was built by a Gujarati prince who was fascinated by architecture. Waghji Thakor built railways, ports, temples and bridges, a technical showcase that connected his two palaces.

On Sunday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he ‘Deeply saddened’ affected by the tragedy and said he had sought “emergency mobilization” Or rescue teams heading to the disaster area, which was dominated by women and children shortly before the tragedy. He is scheduled to visit the site on Tuesday.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel shared video clip On social media, rescue teams used boats and flotation devices to pull people out of the river.

Hassan in London and Mahesh Langa in Ahmedabad contributed to this report.

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