Death toll rises to 141; nine arrested
The death toll from a foot bridge collapse in India rose to 141 yesterday, including many children, as police detained nine people as part of a criminal investigation into one of the deadliest accidents in the country in the past decade.
Nine persons of the OREVA group, involved in the maintenance and management of the bridge, were arrested yesterday in connection with the collapse of the cable suspension bridge on the Machchhu river. Police have registered an FIR on charges of culpable homicide against agencies given the task of maintenance and operation of the bridge in Morbi city, reports The Hindu.
Several teams of NDRF and personnel of Navy and Air Force have been ordered to be airlifted to the site to help in the rescue efforts and comb the river bed.
Ashwin Mehra, who was undergoing treatment after sustaining leg and back injuries when he plunged from the bridge, said he and six others had reached the shore by holding onto the bridge's metal railings and netting.
"Some 15-20 mischievous young kids were shaking the ropes of the bridge. Three times a noise came from the bridge before it collapsed," he told Reuters TV partner ANI.
Local officials told Reuters the manager of the bridge, a company making clocks and electrical items, had not informed the authorities that the bridge would be reopened last week after repairs, adding that no certificate that it was fit for public use had been issued.