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Multiple arrests after Indian bridge disaster

Officials in charge of renovating the structure in Gujarat were detained after it collapsed, killing over 140 people

Police in the Indian state of Gujarat have arrested nine people after a suspension bridge collapsed on Sunday, killing at least 141. Among those arrested were officials in charge of the bridge’s recent renovation.

Originally built during British rule, the 230-meter bridge was opened to the public last week after a six-month renovation project led by watchmaking firm Oreva. The structure collapsed on Sunday, sending crowds of people plummeting into the Machchhu River below. 

Around 500 people had been given tickets to cross the bridge immediately before the collapse, while the bridge was only built to support the weight of 125, according to a police report seen by NDTV.

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Indian rescue personnel conduct search operations after a bridge across the river Machchhu collapsed in Morbi, some 220 kms from Ahmedabad, early on October 31, 2022.
Indian bridge collapse captured on CCTV, death toll continues to rise

Nine people have been arrested and charged, the Indian broadcaster reported on Monday, citing police documents. Among them were Oreva officials, ticket sellers, and security guards. 

Oreva, which normally manufactures clocks, watches, and electric bicycles, allegedly outsourced “the technical aspect of the bridge renovation” to a smaller firm with an unknown record, NDTV reported. Oreva had been contractually obliged to keep the bridge closed to pedestrians for at least eight months during the project, but opened it a month early and without conducting proper quality checks, the police files stated.

The company has blamed pedestrians for deliberately swaying the bridge. Video footage shot seconds before the disaster appeared to show a group of men rocking the structure back and forth.

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Some 177 people were rescued from the river in an overnight operation by police, military, and disaster response teams, the BBC reported. Most of those who died were women, children, or elderly people, a local official told the British broadcaster. 

Among those killed were seven members of the same family, Reuters reported. Two brothers told the news outlet that their mother, wives, and four children were on the bridge at the time of the collapse. 

https://ift.tt/zUNFym9 31, 2022 at 08:20PM
from RT – Daily news

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