At least 132 people are feared to have been killed with dozens injured or critically injured after a cable bridge collapsed in India with a reported 400 plunged into the water.
The suspension bridge, which connected the banks of the Machchhu River in Morbi, in the Indian state of Gujarat, collapsed on Sunday night – causing multiple injuries.
Hundreds of people were thrown into the river after its cables apparently snapped, images show.
In the early hours of Monday, India’s English news channel TimesNow reported that the death toll had risen to 132, with around 18 children feared to be among the dead, along with a number of women.
The bridge was re-opened just four days ago after repair and renovation. A criminal complaint has been filed against the company responsible for the bridge’s renovation.
“Due to the bridge collapse, several people fell into the river. A rescue operation is underway. There are reports that several people have suffered injuries. They are being rushed to hospitals,” local MLA and state minister Brijesh Merja said.
Footage broadcast by TV channel Zee News showed dozens of people clinging onto the cables of the collapsed bridge as emergency teams struggled to rescue them.
Amit Jhala, a senior administrator at the hospital to where victims had been taken said: “We can confirm that 30 people have lost their lives, many have been rescued from the river and some are still missing.”
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.
Ambulances are at the scene of the accident to carry the injured to hospital, reports say.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing a number of women and children hanging on to the bridge when it snapped.
Officials said the bridge collapsed because it couldn’t support the weight of the 400 people standing on it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in the state on an official visit, wrote on Twitter: “PM @narendramodi spoke to Gujarat CM and other officials regarding the mishap in Morbi.
“He has sought urgent mobilisation of teams for rescue ops. He has asked that the situation be closely and continuously monitored, and extend all possible help to those affected.”
The pre-Independence bridge was called Julto Pool and was one of the main tourist attractions of Morbi.
The bridge is a popular picnic spot and often sees huge crowds on weekends.