At least 120 people have been killed in India over the weekend after a bridge collapsed, sending hundreds of people plummeting into the river.
The tragedy occurred in the western Indian state of Gujarat in the town of Morbi.
The 750-foot bridge was built in the 19th century under British rule and had recently reopened after undergoing months of renovations.
— News24 (@news24tvchannel) October 30, 2022
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Bhupendra Patel, Chief Minister of Gujaratk, “and other officials regarding the mishap in Morbi,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement. “He has sought urgent mobilisation of teams for rescue ops. He has asked that the situation be closely and continuously monitored, and extend all possible help to those affected.”
Modi announced a that families of the victims will receive financial compensation from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the incident, Modi’s office said in a separate statement.
“2 lakh from PMNRF for the next of kin of each of those who lost their lives in the mishap in Morbi,” Modi added. “The injured would be given Rs. 50,000.”
The New York Times reported that approximately 100,000 people showed up to the event leading to narrow streets being crammed full of people who could not move.
There were so many people present that emergency workers reportedly struggled to make it to the victims and then again struggled to transport them out of the area to hospitals.
The Washington Post reported that the U.S. Military responded to the incident and was helping local authorities do crowd control.
The Yonsan-gu Fire Department said that there was no gas leak or fire in the area as they continued to investigate what led to the mass casualty event.
Choi Seong-beom, head of the fire department, told reporters that “many casualties were incurred as a crowd of people fell over during Halloween parties.”
Yonhap News Agency said that the incident happened “in a narrow downhill alley near Hamilton Hotel in the famous nightlife district after a throng of partygoers flooded into it.”
The report said that 848 first responders, including 346 firefighters, were dispatched to respond to the incident, which is being called one of the largest mass casualty events during peacetime in the country’s history.
Many of the people who appeared to be deceased or serious injured appeared to be young adults in their 20s, authorities said.
Rescue workers could be seen performing CPR on dozens of victims in numerous videos circulating on social.
This was the first major Halloween celebration in the nation’s capital since the coronavirus pandemic erupted a couple of years ago.
The Times said that the area where the incident happened, Itaewon, is a shopping and entertainment district that was originally developed to cater to American soldiers during the Korean War. It has since become “one of the most popular neighborhoods in Seoul” for its restaurants and night life.