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India Mourns as 141 Die in Bridge Collapse

On Monday, the death toll from the collapse of the Morbi suspension bridge reached 141. During his speech honoring Sardar Patel Jayanti, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke down in tears and stated he had never felt such suffering. Meanwhile, the victims have received condolences from all across the world. Rescue workers are searching for the missing.


The morning rush hour in the capital of India was a scene of horror yesterday as a suspension bridge over the Yamuna river collapsed, plunging at least 141 people to their deaths.


The bridge, furthermore, gave way during the evening rush hour at its stampede-like busiest point, reportedly about 160 feet from the end of the bridge. "We had tied it up, and when there was a power outage, we found that it had snapped," said Rajive Kumar, Delhi's head of electricity services. He added, "I will just say starting from the point where the incident occurred. I cannot confirm anything beyond that. It happened at the time of the power shutdown". "I am in a very bad state of mind now," said Kumar.


The collapse, which left several others injured and vehicles on the bridge plunging into the waters below, is the worst bridge disaster in India since 1982 when 140 people were killed in three separate bridge collapses across Bihar state. It also comes just two years after another bridge collapsed in New Delhi, killing six people.


 


"It is a very tragic event, and we will leave no stone unturned to provide all possible assistance to the victims," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh quoted on news channels. "It is a very sad and painful moment for the country."


The bridge did not have a safety mechanism. It was reported that residents of the neighborhood had complained about the constant rumbling noise of trains passing over it. Land for the bridge had been purchased in January 2011, but no construction began until June 2012, which is when it appeared on Google Maps and was photographed by an Australian academic in September last year.


Greg Bader, from Australia's Deakin University, said he had visited India in October last year, and the company that built the bridge denied any knowledge of it. "I do have a copy of a letter to the Indian government in November 2010 stating that it was going to start building the bridge." "A contracting company called L&T said they were going to build it," he said.



"I think there was some kind of misunderstanding between them and (the state government in) Andhra Pradesh—they didn't realise they needed the land." The location of the bridge is a milestone in India's road network, with motorists crossing over an expressway just northwest of Connaught Place, Delhi's central business district.


Moreover, there were reports that two sections of the structure had fallen into the waters below, and Indian media said bodies had been retrieved from within 10 meters of where the bridge had collapsed.


The tragedy, according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was heartbreaking. He continued by expressing his condolences to the victims' families.


"I had never before in my life felt such agony." A heart filled with anguish is one thing, but the road to responsibility is quite another, "he said.


He offered his condolences and assured the families of those killed in the accident of the government's unwavering support.


Even in the hospital where the injured are receiving care, he said, "all alertness is being observed."


The bridge that collapsed was opened "without a fitness certificate."


Over a century has passed since the construction of the Machchhu River suspension bridge began. According to Sandeep Jhala, the head of the local Morbi municipality, "it was closed to the public in March this year for refurbishment."


According to Mr. Jhala, it wasn't until October 26 that the bridge was reopened to traffic after repairs. However, he adds, "the neighborhood municipality had not yet granted a fitness certificate. 


 


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