Morbi bridge tragedy: As the dead keep coming, crematorium, graveyard staff overwhelmed

Updated on Nov 02, 2022 11:03 PM IST

The cable bridge with sightseers collapsed on Sunday due to a heavy rush of people, only a week after renovations had been completed.

Rescuers on boats search in the Machchu river next to a cable bridge that collapsed on Sunday in Morbi town of western state Gujarat.
Rescuers on boats search in the Machchu river next to a cable bridge that collapsed on Sunday in Morbi town of western state Gujarat.
By | Edited by Sohini Goswami

Crematorium and graveyard workers in Morbi, Gujarat, said they had never, in their decades-long experience, witnessed such a massive influx of bodies in such a short period of time as they did after the colonial-era footbridge collapsed, claiming more than 130 lives.

“Nine bodies were brought on Monday and two on Tuesday. Usually, only two to three last rites are performed in this crematorium every week. I have never seen such a high death count in such a short span in decades," Bhima Thakor, caretaker of a gas-run crematorium in Morbi was quoted by PTI.

"This was very unusual for us because we usually dig nearly 20 graves a month," he said.

Also Read | How bridge collapse in Gujarat’s Morbi happened

Crematorium workers and families of the victims said the tragedy brought back the Machchhu dam collapse tragedy of 1979, when thousands of Morbi residents were swept away by floodwaters.

Sajid Piludia of Morbi's biggest graveyard for Sunni Muslims said nearly 40 members of the community have lost their lives in the tragedy.

"Of them, 25 were buried here and another one at a nearby graveyard on Monday. This was the biggest tragedy after the 1979 Machchhu dam breach incident," he said.

The cable bridge with sightseers collapsed on Sunday due to a heavy rush of people, only a week after renovations had been completed.

Read | 'Act of god': Oreva manager tells court on Gujarat's Morbi bridge collapse

So far, nine people have been taken into custody in the case. Among them are three security officers whose role was to supervise the crowd, managers of Oreva, the firm that renovated the bridge, ticket takers, and bridge repair contractors.

The Gujarat government has formed a five-member committee to look into the lapses in the repair work and renovation of the bridge.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and other agencies continued to look for bodies at the site. NDRF commandant VVN Prasanna Kumar said apart from drowning, people also died of injuries because the "floor of the river was full of rocks"

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Kanishka is a journalist at Hindustan Times’ news desk. When not in newsroom, you will find her on streets of Delhi exploring food cafes or capturing world through her lens.

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