India: dozens dead in the collapse of a suspension bridge recently renovated in Gujarat

Dozens of people were killed and others seriously injured when a newly renovated suspension bridge in the western Indian state of Gujarat collapsed on Sunday, officials said.

“Sixty deaths have been confirmed so far,” MP Mohan Kundariya said. Earlier reports citing officials said at least 30 people had died.

According to the Press Trust of India news agency, at least 32 people have died. The bridge caved in because it could not support the number of people on it, officials told PTI.

Only last week the bridge was reopened to the public after months of renovations, according to reports.

Hundreds of people were on the bridge over the Machhu River in the town of Morbi at the time of the collapse. Local television channel Zee News put the number at 400.

Footage broadcast by the TV station showed dozens of people clinging to the cables of the collapsed bridge as emergency crews struggled to rescue them.

Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi said more than 150 people were on the narrow cable-stayed bridge, a tourist attraction that has drawn many tourists during the festive season when Diwali and Chhath Puja are celebrated.

The historic 230 meter bridge was built during British rule in the 19th century. It had been closed for six months before being reopened to the public last week, following its renovation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in his home state of Gujarat for a three-day visit, said he had ordered the state’s chief minister to urgently mobilize teams for the rescue operation.

In May, at least a dozen workers were killed in Morbi and more than a dozen were injured after a wall collapsed at a salt-packing plant.

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