Eyewitnesses’ accounts painted a heart-wrenching picture of the tragedy of the collapse of the suspension bridge in Gujarat’s Morbi city on Sunday, which claimed over 130 lives including that of women and children.
Reacting to the tragedy Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kevadiya, expressed grief at the Morbi bridge collapse. “I am in Ekta Nagar but my mind is with the victims of Morbi. Rarely in my life, would I have experienced such pain. On one hand, there is a pain-riddled heart and on the other hand, there is the path to duty,” the PM Modi said.
— ANI (@ANI) October 31, 2022
“I express my condolences to families of those who lost their lives in the accident. In this hour of grief, the government is with the bereaved families in every manner. The Gujarat government is carrying out relief and rescue ops since yesterday. Centre too is extending all help to the State Govt,” Modi said.
As per ANI report, Locals recount how they carried the injured, some of them lifeless bodies of children in their arms, clutching onto a vague hope that they will somehow make it.
A tea seller in the vicinity who watched with horror the recently renovated 140-year-old suspension bridge collapse said that people were hanging on to the Julto Pul, as the bridge is commonly known, went down.
“Everything happened within seconds. I saw people hanging on to the bridge and later falling into the water as their grip loosened and they slipped into the water. It was really heartwrenching. A 7-month pregnant woman also died in the bridge collapse. It shattered me to the core,” he said.
The man who sells tea every Sunday near the bridge broke down repeatedly as he recounted the horror. “There were just people dying everywhere. I tried helping as much as I can. Took people to the hospital,” said the tea vendor.
“I have never seen anything like this. There was this small kid. We tried rescuing her. She spat out a lot of water and we were really happy that she would survive, however she soon took her last breath in front of me as we rushed her to the hospital. I was shaken,” he added as tears filled his eyes.
A local woman named Hasinaben choked up as she narrated the dreadful incident.
“I never realised when the morning dawned. My family and I was involved in rushing people to the hospital for the whole night. I have given both my vehicles to people to ferry the injured to hospitals. I have two sons and a daughter and both my sons have been just helping out people and are continuing even now,” she said.
“It really shook me when I carried dead children with my own hands as I thought of taking them to the hospital. But they had nothing left in them. It broke me. I can’t even speak about it…..,” said Hasinaben as she broke down again.
Others narrated how they attempted to rescue those, including children who were seen clinging on to the bridge but they had to stare helplessly as they fell into the river and either drowned or got swept away. Some able-bodied people were seen climbing up back the broken bridge, part of which was touching the water.
According to the latest reports, the death toll in the mishap had gone up to 132 on Monday morning. Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi said that a criminal case has been registered in connection with the incident.
“An investigation has begun today under the leadership of Range IGP,” Sanghavi said. Everyone worked all through the night. The Navy, NDRF (National Disaster Relief Force), Air Force and Army arrived at the spot quickly. More than 200 persons have worked the entire night for search and rescue operations,” Sanghavi said.
Meanwhile, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge paid homage to those killed in the tragedy, and said that may God give the strength to the families who have lost their loved ones to bear the loss. Speaking with reporters, he said the reasons for the collapse of the bridge that reopened five days ago, ought to be known.
“Why were so many people allowed. There should be an inquiry headed by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge,” Kharge said.
Shockingly , the suspension bridge on the Machchhu river in Gujarat’s Morbi city which collapsed killing at least 132 people was reopened for the public just five days back after seven months of repair work by a private firm, but had not received the municipality’s “fitness certificate”, an official said.