Nine people arrested in connection with Morbi bridge collapse

The Machchu River pedestrian suspension bridge collapse in Morbi, Gujarat. (Photo: Screenshot from WION/YouTube)

The Machchu River pedestrian suspension bridge collapsed on Sunday evening, throwing hundreds into the water or clinging to the debris while yelling for assistance in Gujarat's Morbi city.

The bridge was built more than a century ago and is a popular tourist destination in India. It had been shut down in March of this year for repair, but when it reopened on October 26th, it didn't appear to have a safety certificate from the municipality.

Several people were parading on the bridge for Chhath Puja and Diwali on the day of the event. CCTV footage captured the bridge wavering and seemed to be actively rocked by a few individuals before it abruptly collapsed. It resulted in at least 141 deaths.

Thirty-year-old Madhvi Ben was on the bridge when it suddenly crashed. She reported to AFP of hearing a loud thump and then silence. Then she began to hear shouts and cries. Her legs were caught in a steel rope, but she forced herself to hold her breath and raise herself. Before I reached the bank, "someone held my hand and pulled me out of the water," she recalled.

Nine people were reportedly arrested on Monday, including two Oreva officials, two subcontractors, three security personnel, and two ticket collectors who are accused of selling too many passes and overloading the bridge.

Senior police officer Ashok Yadav told reporters on Monday that names of other people connected to the Oreva Group will also be booked as the probe moves further.

The Archbishop of Gandhinagar, Msgr. Thomas Macwan, extended his “deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and injured,” and prayed that “God's consolation will strengthen them in their grief.”