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India’s Morbi Bridge collapse: 9 arrested over bridge collapse that killed 134

India's Morbi Bridge collapse: 9 arrested over bridge collapse that killed 134

New Delhi

Nine people were arrested suspension bridge collapse Police in the western Indian state of Gujarat said that at least 134 people were killed on Sunday.

Police officer Ashok Kumar Yadav told reporters on Monday that the suspects were all linked to Oreva, a Gujarat-based electrical appliance manufacturer that maintained the 230-meter-long bridge in Morbi town. The bridge was only reopened last week after repairs.

Yadav said the nine included two managers, two ticketing staff, two contractors and three security guards.

Yadav said the suspects are being investigated for premeditated murder which does not amount to murder, adding that a special investigation team is examining the incident.

At least 134 people, including 30 children, died when the narrow bridge collapsed into the river on Sunday evening around 6:30 p.m. local time, as locals in the riverside town joined in the Diwali celebrations.

It was estimated that about 200 people were on the bridge at the time, according to Gujarat’s home minister, Harsh Sanghvi, who said a cable at one end appeared to have been cut.

Built over a century ago, the bridge is 1.25 meters (four feet) wide and hangs over the Machu River to form a gateway to Morbe, a city that still carries the architectural legacy of British rule.

Pictures from the scene on Monday showed people gathering on the river bank beside a deformed iron walkway hanging at a sharp angle into the water.

Search efforts involving hundreds of personnel from government, national and Indian army disaster relief teams are set to resume on Tuesday, district official Vishal Kanjaria told CNN.

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As of Monday evening, a total of 170 people have been rescued, according to Morbi District Administrative Officer Vishal Kanjaria. Some are still in hospital and others have gone home, although the exact breakdown is not yet known.

Speaking at a press conference in the early hours of Monday morning, Sanghvi did not say how many people were missing, but a video clip on social media showed dozens in the water after the bridge collapsed.

Television footage showed people holding on to cables and the remains of the bridge as emergency teams tried to reach them, according to Reuters. Some climbed the shattered structure to reach the banks of the river, while others swam to safety.

Rescue personnel conduct search operations on October 31, 2022.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the families of the victims will receive compensation from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

Speaking on Monday at a statewide pre-election event in Gujarat, Modi said, “His heart is full of love and he is with the families of those who are suffering.”

The state government set up a commission to investigate the incident. “I assure the people of the country that there will be no shortage of relief and rescue efforts,” Modi said.

People gather as rescuers search for survivors after a suspension bridge collapsed in Morbi in the western state of Gujarat, India, October 31, 2022.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said the state government will provide the equivalent of about $5,000 in compensation for each family of the deceased and about $600 for each injured person.

“I express my condolences to the families of the citizens who lost their lives in the tragedy,” he wrote on Twitter.