At least 40 people died when a bridge collapses in Morbi the western state of Gujarat in India

At least 40 people died when a bridge collapses in  Morbi the western state of Gujarat in India


The 230-meter-long bridge was built during British rule in the 19th century and recently reopened to the public after renovations.

More than 400 people were on the bridge over the Machu River in the town of Morbi on Sunday when the bridge collapsed, local TV station Zee News reported.

"So far at least 40 people have died and 30 others have been injured," said Briesh Merja, a minister and member of Morbi's parliament. "The death toll could rise if rescue operations continue."

One lawmaker put the death toll much higher. "So far, 60 deaths have been confirmed," said MP Mohan Kundaria.

Television footage showed dozens of people holding cables and twisting the remains of a collapsed bridge as rescue teams struggled to save them. Some climbed up damaged buildings to try to get to the river's edge while others swam to safety.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported that the bridge collapsed because it could not accommodate the crowds on it.

This historic 230-meter bridge was built during British rule in the 19th century. It was closed for six months for repairs and reopened to the public last week.

The bridge is located in Morbi, 200 km west of Ahmedabad, the capital city of Gujarat.

Ahmedabad-based journalist Bhargav Parikh told Al Jazeera that many tourists were in Gujarat for religious holidays. The bridge is a tourist attraction that attracts many visitors during the festive season when Diwali and Chat Puja are celebrated.

Local media quoted officials as saying people were performing rituals on the bridge when it collapsed.


Comments