At least 60 people died on Sunday when a 100-year-old suspension bridge collapsed in India, a state government minister told AFP.
“Sixty people have died. More than 80 have been rescued,” Brijesh Merja, a minister in the state government of Gujarat where the disaster happened, told AFP.
Local media quoted officials as saying that as many as 500 people were on the Morbi bridge performing rituals for a major religious festival when it gave way.
The Press Trust of India had earlier reported the death toll as being at least 32, citing local health officials.
Harsh Sanghavi, Gujarat’s home minister, however, put the death toll at seven.
Reports said that more than 100 people were still missing in the river, showing videos — which could not be independently verified — of people clinging to the remains of the structure in the dark.
The British-era suspension bridge was only reopened to the public this week, after months of repairs.
Authorities launched a rescue operation following the collapse, with divers deployed to search for missing people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was touring his home state of Gujarat, announced compensation for those killed and injured in the accident.
Modi “sought urgent mobilisation of teams for rescue (operations)”, his office tweeted.
“He has asked that the situation be closely and continuously monitored, and (for authorities to) extend all possible help to those affected.”