2022 Morbi bridge collapse

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2022 Morbi bridge collapse
Hanging Bridge from Opposite Side Morbi - panoramio.jpg
The bridge photographed in 2008
2022 Morbi bridge collapse is located in Gujarat
2022 Morbi bridge collapse
2022 Morbi bridge collapse is located in India
2022 Morbi bridge collapse
Date30 October 2022 (2022-10-30)
Time18:40 (IST, UTC+5:30)
LocationMorbi, Gujarat, India
Coordinates22°49′06″N 70°50′34″E / 22.81833°N 70.84278°E / 22.81833; 70.84278Coordinates: 22°49′06″N 70°50′34″E / 22.81833°N 70.84278°E / 22.81833; 70.84278
TypeBridge failure
Deaths141+[1]
Non-fatal injuries180+

On 30 October 2022 a pedestrian suspension bridge over the Machchhu River in the city of Morbi in Gujarat, India, collapsed, causing the deaths of at least 135 people and injuries to more than 180 others.

The 19th-century bridge had reopened five days earlier, in time for Diwali and the Gujarati New Year, following a lengthy closure for repairs.

Background[edit]

Jhulto Pul[2] (Gujarati: ઝૂલતો પુલ; "hanging bridge") was a 230-metre-long (750 ft), 1.25-metre-wide (4.1 ft) pedestrian suspension bridge, 15 metres (49 ft)[3][4] over the Machchhu River,[5] connecting the districts of Mahaprabhuji and Samakantha.[6] It was built during British rule in India in the 19th century.[7][8] Dates for its construction vary, but according to locals, it was built in the 1880s by Waghji Thakore, the local maharaja.[9] It connected Darbargadh Palace with Nazarbag Palace (now Lukhdhirji Engineering College), the residences of the erstwhile royal family of Morbi State.[4] At that time, there was a limit of fifteen people on the bridge at once, as the narrow structure meant it swayed with any greater weight.[10][11]

In recent times the bridge was owned and operated as a toll bridge by the Morbi municipality, which signed a contract with the Morbi-based private trust Oreva – a company known for making clocks[3][12] – for maintenance and operations on 7 March 2022.[13][14][10] The fifteen-year contract was with Oreva's flagship company, Ajanta Manufacturing Private Limited, which had been involved with the bridge since 2008.[10] The agreement covered the maintenance and management of the bridge.[10][15] The toll bridge reopened on 26 October 2022 on the occasion of the Gujarati New Year, after being closed for repairs for six months.[16] At the re-opening ceremony, Oreva's managing director told reporters people could enjoy a "care-free adventure" and the bridge would not need any major work for another eight to ten years.[10]

Collapse[edit]

On 30 October 2022, five days after reopening,[9][17] the bridge collapsed at 6:40 p.m. More than five hundred people were on the bridge at the time of the collapse, far exceeding the official capacity of 125.[18] Security footage of the bridge showed the structure shaking violently and people holding onto cables and fencing on either side of the bridge before the walkway gave way.[19] Images of rescue and recovery operations showed the walkway had divided at its midpoint, with some pieces still hanging from snapped cables.[19]

A survivor said that so many people on the bridge could barely move and that pieces of the bridge crushed some victims.[19] Mohan Kundariya, a Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha who lost twelve family members including his sister in the incident,[5] said he believed the cause was overloading.[8] A spokesperson for Oreva said that it appeared too many people were in the middle section of the bridge "trying to sway it".[11][20]

Five teams from the National Disaster Response Force started rescue operations.[21] Later they were joined by Army, Navy, and Air Force staff.[22] Police, military, and disaster response teams were deployed for rescue operations.[23]

Victims[edit]

At least 135 people were confirmed dead,[24] and more than 180 were rescued.[25] A large number of the victims were women, the elderly,[19] and children (39 boys and 16 girls) with the youngest fatality being an 18-month-old baby.[26][24] The government of Gujarat announced an ex gratia payment of 4 lakh (US$5,000) to the next of kin of each person who died, and 50,000 (US$630) to the injured.[22][27][28]

Investigation[edit]

Initial reports said that the bridge was reopened early after repairs, without the required certificate of fitness from the local civic authorities. The chief officer of the municipality, who had agreed on the contract for repairs after the 2001 earthquake, said the private firm responsible for the renovations "threw the bridge open to visitors without notifying us, and therefore, we couldn't get a safety audit of the bridge conducted".[13]

A forensic report presented in court said that the bridge could not withstand the weight of the new heavy flooring given the cables were rusted, it had broken anchors, and the bolts connecting the aforementioned two were loose.[29][3] A five-member committee was formed by the Government of Gujarat to investigate and determine the cause.[30][31] Nine people, all associated with the Oreva group, were arrested and subject to investigation:[32][33] two managers and two ticket clerks employed by Oreva, two contractors, and three hired security guards.[3]

A first information report was filed against the maintenance and management agencies of the bridge under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (intentional act causing death), and 114 (abettor present when offence committed) of the Indian Penal Code.[30][34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Langa, Mahesh (31 October 2022). "Morbi bridge collapse tragedy: 141 deaths reported so far". The Hindu. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  2. ^ "Morbi bridge collapse | Generations wiped out in disaster". The Hindu. 1 November 2022. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d Pandey, Geeta (2 November 2022). "Morbi bridge collapse: How India tourist spot became a bridge of death". BBC News.
  4. ^ a b "History of 143-year-old Morbi bridge". cnbctv18.com. 31 October 2022. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  5. ^ a b Thomas, Merlyn; Peter, Laurence (31 October 2022). "India bridge collapse: Death toll rises to 141, many still missing". BBC. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  6. ^ Kumar, Anurag (30 October 2022). "All You Need To Know About Gujarat". www.india.com. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  7. ^ Khanna, Sumit (30 October 2022). "At least 40 killed in India bridge collapse, state minister says". Reuters. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Recently renovated cable bridge collapses in Gujarat, several injured: Top developments". The Times of India. 30 October 2022. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Morbi bridge collapse: How a tourist spot became a bridge of death". BBC News. 2 November 2022. Retrieved 2 November 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d e Sharma, Shweta (1 November 2022). "How India's bridge collapse tragedy that killed 135 unfolded". The Independent. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  11. ^ a b "Gujarat: Suspension bridge collapses in Morbi, more than 125 dead". The Indian Express. 30 October 2022. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  12. ^ Kateshiya, Gopal (1 November 2022). "Oreva Group traces its origin to India's leading clock brand". The Indian Express.
  13. ^ a b "Gujarat: Suspension bridge collapses in Morbi, more than 125 dead". The Indian Express. 30 October 2022. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  14. ^ "5 Facts About Old Bridge In Gujarat That Collapsed". NDTV. 31 October 2022.
  15. ^ "Pedestrian bridge collapses in India, killing at least 132". NBC News. 31 October 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  16. ^ Khanna, Sumit (30 October 2022). "At least 40 killed in India bridge collapse, state minister says". Reuters. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  17. ^ "Hundreds plunge into the river after India bridge collapses". BBC News. BBC. 30 October 2022.
  18. ^ Ankit, Tyagi (31 October 2022). Ghosh, Deepshikha (ed.). "Exclusive: Gujarat Bridge Reopened Ahead Of Schedule. 135 Dead". NDTV. Archived from the original on 31 October 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  19. ^ a b c d "Pedestrian bridge collapses in India, killing at least 132". NBC News. 31 October 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  20. ^ ""Some People Shook Bridge Intentionally": Gujarat Family's Narrow Escape". NDTV. 31 October 2022.
  21. ^ Pandey, Tanushree (31 October 2022). Gauntam, Aditi (ed.). "141 Dead, Gujarat Bridge Was Disaster Waiting To Happen: 10 Points". NDTV. Archived from the original on 31 October 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  22. ^ a b "Morbi bridge collapse updates: Army, Air Force, and Navy join NDRF for rescue ops". Hindustan Times. 30 October 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  23. ^ "India bridge collapse: Death toll rises to 132, many still missing". BBC News. 30 October 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  24. ^ a b "Morbi Bridge Collapse | Cold comfort as cheques are handed out: 'What do I do with money?'". The Indian Express. 2 November 2022. Retrieved 3 November 2022.
  25. ^ "Gujarat Morbi bridge collapse, accident news today: Death toll rises to 135; rescue operation underway". Zee Business. 31 October 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  26. ^ "55 children among 135 killed in Morbi bridge collapse: Official data". The Indian Express. 5 November 2022. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
  27. ^ "Morbi bridge collapse: Toll rises to over 140, probe on". cnbctv18.com. 31 October 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  28. ^ "Live updates - Gujarat Cable Bridge Collapse: PM Modi chairs high-level meeting [title changes as timeline progresses]". The Times of India. In timeline at 20:25 (IST) 30 October 2022
  29. ^ "3,165 Tickets Issued On Day Gujarat Bridge Collapsed, Finds Damning Report: 10 Points". NDTV.com. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
  30. ^ a b "Morbi bridge collapse: Toll rises to over 140, probe on". cnbctv18.com. 31 October 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  31. ^ "अब तक 132 की मौत, मेंटिनेंस कंपनी के खिलाफ एफआईआर दर्ज, SIT करेगी जांच". Amar Ujala (in Hindi). 1 November 2022.
  32. ^ Shih, Garry; Masih, Niha; Irfan, Shams (31 October 2022). "Indian police file homicide charges, arrest 9, as bridge toll passes 134". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  33. ^ "Morbi bridge collapse: India police arrest nine after disaster". BBC News. 31 October 2022.
  34. ^ "India bridge collapse: Death toll rises to 132, many still missing". BBC News. 30 October 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2022.