Morbi suspension bridge collapse: How exactly did it happen?
A colonial-era bridge standing for over 140 years in Gujarat's Morbi was no less than an engineering marvel. It underwent renovation for close to seven months, perked with "modern" architecture. However, it came down within five days of reopening. The bridge collapse incident shook the country as it claimed the lives of 141 people, as per NDTV. But how did it come to this?
Unusual crowd for Chhath Puja
The bridge over the Machchhu River was unusually crowded on Sunday evening on the occasion of Chhath Puja. People thronged its banks for worshiping, while many got onto the bridge to watch the celebrations. It had at least 400-450 people on it. It was reopened last Wednesday by Jaysukh Patel, managing director of Oreva Group, which undertook the renovation as its corporate social responsibility.
CCTV footage shows the exact moment when the bridge snapped
FIR against Oreva Group
The suspension bridge connects Darbargarh Palace and Lakhdhirji Engineering College in Morbi. It reportedly has a carrying capacity of 100 people and was safe for operation for the next 25 years, per Jindal Group, which carried out the renovation work on behalf of Oreva Group. Oreva Group now faces a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder for causing scores of deaths.
Officials said bridge was reopened without informing municipality
#Gujarat Home Minister who was involved in high decibel election campaign till yesterday has no answer to give, when I questioned him on the criminal negligence on the part of govt authorities in the #MorbiBridge collapse. More than 140 have lost their lives. Who's responsible? https://t.co/x7nxLElLZH— Tanushree Pandey (@TanushreePande) October 31, 2022
Bridge reopened without fitness certificate?
Moreover, it isn't clear if the bridge had received a fitness certificate before being reopened, which was supposed to be issued by a third party. Besides technical clearances, one of the causes for the collapse is said to be overcrowding and some unruly persons swinging and kicking the cables of the bridge—jeopardizing the lives of hundreds, as per the videos circulating on social media.
BJP leaders shift the blame onto unruly youths
This is appalling! A bunch of young men were seen on camera kicking the cables of the #MorbiBridge before it collapsed. Eyewitnesses have also confirmed the same.— Priti Gandhi - प्रीति गांधी (@MrsGandhi) October 30, 2022
I request CM @Bhupendrapbjp and HM @sanghaviharsh to ensure a thorough investigation of the matter. pic.twitter.com/3uAZZfvpKz
Many entered without ticket: Report
Usually, people walk through the bridge and exit through its other end, which keeps the weight distributed. However, on the fateful day, people stood on the bridge to look at the celebrations around them. Officials said only 220 tickets were issued from the counter, but many entered without tickets as the lone security guard failed to restrict the crowd from getting onto the bridge.
Those standing in the middle fell into deep water
As its cables snapped, many standing in the bridge's middle section fell into the river while some clung onto the railings. The water in the middle was 20m deep. Although local fisherfolk rescued some, they couldn't save those who fell into deep water. The bridge's lights also collapsed. Search and rescue operations were halted for over 30 minutes and resumed after floodlights were installed.