At least 132 people have died after a pedestrian bridge collapsed in the western Indian state of Gujarat.
Authorities said nearly 500 people were celebrating a festival on and around the nearly 150-year-old suspension bridge in Morbi when supporting cables snapped after dark on Sunday.
Footage shows hundreds of people who fell into the Macchu River in the town of Morbi shouting for help while others hung on the banks of the bridge sinking into a river.
Gujarat’s Minister of State for Labour and Employment Brijesh Merja said more than 80 people had been rescued, on the bridge, which at the time of the breakup was about 400 people.
The incident occurred just days after the bridge reopened, following repairs.
The bridge, built from colonial times in the 19th century, during british rule, is 230 metres long and is famous as a tourist attraction in the area.
“I saw the bridge collapse before my eyes,” one witness who worked all night trying to rescue people said, without giving his name.
“It was traumatic when a woman showed me a photo of her daughter and asked if I had rescued her. I could not tell her that her daughter had died.” Another witness named Supran told local media that the bridge was “jam-packed”.
“The cables snapped and the bridge came down in a split second. People fell on each other and into the river,” he said.
Another eyewitness said there were many children on the pedestrian bridge when it broke.
Prateek Vasava, one of those on the bridge, said as soon as the incident occurred he plunged into the water and saved himself by swimming to the banks of the river.
He said hhe also saw many children plunge into the river, but was unable to rescue them, fearing drowning or being swept away.
Ranjanbhai Patel, another Morbi resident, told local media of the difficulties he and other faced in their bid to help people to shore.
“We pulled out people who were able to swim ashore. As most of the people had fallen into the river, we were not able to save them,” he said.
Senior police official Ashok Kumar Yadav told the media on Monday morning that the death toll now stood at 132. Sources said that most of the victims were women and children.
Footage shows the chaotic state of people trying to save themselves after plunging into a river and others smashing along the banks of the long bridge upwards, as darkness sets in.
Rescue efforts were carried out overnight. The cause of the collapse is still unknown, but Enei authorities say overcrowding on the bridge during the holiday season could also be a factor.