Just before a British-era bridge collapsed at Gujarat’s Morbi on Sunday evening, people were deliberately rocking it. At least 140 people died after the bridge crashed into the river.
A CCTV video shows a man swaying wildly, holding the cables on both sides, right when the bridge collapsed, around 6.32 pm.
The bridge is packed with people, some taking photos on their mobiles and others trying to shake the bridge, the video shows. Within seconds, the metal cables snap and the bridge falls, spilling people into the river Macchu. The walkway and one fence collapsed, leaving one side dangling mid-air.
People fell on each other, said witnesses.
More videos taken later showed people hanging on to the remains of the bridge while some swim to safety.
Around 500 people were on the bridge, though it could take only around 125.
Jayrajsinh Jadeja, a councillor of the ruling BJP in Morbi, said on Sunday 400 to 500 tickets were issued, which led to overcrowding and the collapse.
The 150-year-old bridge was thrown open to the public on October 26, after seven months of repair and maintenance work. The agreement between the Morbi municipal authorities and Ajanta Manufacturers, the private company hired for the maintenance of the bridge, reveals that the bridge was reopened ahead of time.
The contract required the bridge to be shut for maintenance for eight to 12 months before being opened.
Sandeepsinh Zala, chief officer of Morbi municipality, said the company, Oreva, did not inform authorities about reopening the bridge and had not been issued a fitness certificate to do so.