At least 60 killed in India bridge collapse

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At least 60 people were killed when a pedestrian bridge over a river in the western Indian state of Gujarat collapsed, plunging hundreds of people into the water, officials said.

Authorities said more than 150 people were on the suspension bridge over the Machhu River in the town of Morbi at the time of the collapse.

TV footage showed dozens of people clinging onto the cables and twisted remains of the collapsed bridge as emergency teams struggled to rescue them. Some clambered up the broken structure to try to make their way to the river banks, while others swam to safety.

“Sixty deaths have been confirmed so far,” member of parliament Mohan Kundariya said.

At least 30 people had also been injured, other officials said.

State Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi said more than 150 people were on the narrow cable-stayed bridge, a tourist attraction that drew many sight-seers during the festive season, when Diwali and Chhath Puja are celebrated.

The 230-metre historic bridge was built during British rule in the 19th century. It had been closed for renovation for six months and was reopened for the public last week.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in his home state Gujarat for a three-day visit, said he had directed the state chief minister to mobilize teams urgently for the rescue operation.

The state government has formed a five-member special investigation team to conduct an investigation into the disaster.

Morbi is one of the largest ceramic manufacturing clusters in the world and accounts for more than 80 percent of India's ceramic output.

The incident comes ahead of elections in Gujarat, which are expected to be held by the year-end with the current term of the Modi's ruling party's term ending in February, 2023.

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