Morbi bridge collapse: How India tourist spot became a bridge of death

All that’s left of the bridge at Morbi after it gave way on Sunday

Questions are being asked in India after a popular foot bridge collapsed, plunging scores of pedestrians into a river in the western state of Gujarat.
One of India’s worst disasters in recent memory, the massacre in the town of Morbi on Sunday night claimed 135 lives, the majority of them women, children, and elderly people.
What went wrong when the 137-year-old suspension bridge reopened just five days earlier after repairs?
To piece together a tale of avoidable tragedy, the BBC spoke to survivors, first responders, local journalists, and officials.
Locals and journalists criticize the business that ran the bridge, and they also accuse the police and local officials of failing to do their jobs.

*The minutes before the disaster

On Sunday at about 18:30 (13:00 GMT), Mahesh Chavda and two of his pals purchased tickets and boarded Morbi’s swaying “jhulto pul” (hanging bridge).
There is referred to as a “technical marvel” on the state’s tourism website and is well-liked by tourists; Mahesh had frequented it since he was a young boy.


The 230m (754ft)-long bridge that connects Darbargarh Palace and Lakhdhirji Engineering College spans the Machchu River. There are conflicting dates for its construction, but the local Maharaja, Waghji Thakore, is said to have done it in the 1880s.

“I used to visit it with my parents and, for the past few years, I’d go there every Sunday with my friends,” says Mahesh.
When he learned that the bridge had reopened last week, he was “happy,” and the 18-year-old and his buddies decided to carry on with their customary Sunday night activities.
Mahesh told me while lying on his hospital bed with a bandage around his neck that they had seen how busy the bridge was as they got closer to it.

“So we thought we’d wait a bit but the ticket checker said we had to move on. The bridge collapsed the moment we stepped on it,” he said.
Mahesh and his companions were flung into the river 15 meters (45 feet) below when the portion where they were standing flipped over.
Despite their injuries, the three teenagers lived.
Numerous more did not, and the tragedy has crushed many families whose relatives died while taking a nighttime stroll along the river.


by: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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