AHMEDABAD, India: At least 81 people were killed in the western Indian state of Gujarat on Sunday (Oct 30) when a footbridge packed with sightseers enjoying holiday festivities collapsed and plunged them into the river below.
Reuters TV footage showed dozens of people clinging onto the cables and twisted remains of the bridge over the Machhu River in the town of Morbi as emergency teams struggled to rescue them.
Some clambered up the broken structure to try to make their way to the river banks, while others swam to safety. A number of children were among the victims.
Prateek Vasava, who swam to the river bank after falling from the bridge, told 24 Hours Gujarati-language news channel that he witnessed several children drop into the river.
“I wanted to pull some of them along with me but they had drowned or got swept away,” he said.
The bridge had collapsed in just a few seconds, he said.
Atul Prajapati, a medical officer at the state hospital near the disaster site, said: “We have found 81 bodies and the final rites process has begun.”
Dozens of people were also injured, officials said.
Authorities said more than 400 people were on and around the colonial-era suspension bridge at the time of the collapse. State Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi said more than 150 people were on the bridge itself.
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