The chief of India’s disaster response force has thrown some light on what may have caused the high casualties after a cable broke snapped in Gujarat’s Morbi city on Sunday, killing 135.
The water towards both ends of the century-old cable bridge is shallow, about 10 feet or the length of a small car, and the people hit the rocky bottom after falling into the river with great force, killing them, VVN Prasanna Kumar, the Commandant of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), which is part of the search team in the River Machhu, told NDTV today.
The middle area of the river, whose water is stagnant with almost no flow, is about 20 feet deep, Mr Kumar said, adding the navy divers who are searching for bodies effortlessly reached the bottom of the river.
“But the water is muddy and visibility is low,” Mr Kumar said. “We have been using an ultramodern remote underwater vehicle fitted with a camera and a sonar device to locate bodies,” the NDRF Commandant told NDTV. “The floor of the river is full of rocks. This is why many people were injured and killed,” he added.
Most of the bodies were found under the broken bridge as the river did not have any flow and the water did not carry them away, Mr Kumar said.
He said there could be only one or two bodies left to be found, based on data of missing people given by the civil administration.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today visited the hospital in Morbi city where the injured people are being treated. The facility got a quick-fix facelift overnight ahead of his visit.
The narrow cable bridge collapsed due to a huge rush of people, sources in the Gujarat forensics laboratory have said. Some of the old cables that held the bridge were not changed during the seven-month renovation that started in March this year, sources have said.