A 143-year-old suspension bridge in the western Indian state of Gujarat collapsed Sunday, just days after it was reopened to the public.
Official details about the cause are still sketchy, but early reports suggest that the bridge gave way under a weight beyond its capacity. The accident involved hundreds of pedestrians, with 134 killed and another 177 rescued from the waters of the Machchu River. Many survivors are being held in hospitals with serious injuries. State officials formed a special team to investigate the incident and nine persons have been arrested.
Is there suspicion of wrongdoing?
A company based out of Morbi (a nearby town), Ajanta Manufacturing Pvt. Ltd, reportedly received a 15-year contract to maintain the bridge. The company is mainly known for making clocks, mosquito racquets, and electric bikes. According to a Morbi city official, the company also did not receive a “fitness certificate” before reopening the bridge.
The bridge collapse marks the third crowd-related disaster in Asia this month. On Saturday evening, over 150 partygoers in Seoul, South Korea were killed in a crowd surge during Halloween festivities. On October 1, Indonesian police fired tear gas at a soccer match, sparking a crowd crush that caused 132 deaths.