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A bridge in India collapsed and killed more than 130 people

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Government officials in the Indian state of Gujarat say the collapse of a bridge has killed more than 130 people. Sushmita Pathak reports.

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SUSHMITA PATHAK, BYLINE: Ambulance sirens and screams filled the air in the town of Morbi Sunday evening after the cables of the suspension bridge snapped, sending the middle span of the bridge tumbling into the Machhu River.

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UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Speaking Hindi).

PATHAK: Onlookers waded into the water to pull out anyone they could. Local resident Ajay was trying to save two children, but he says only one survived.

AJAY: (Speaking Hindi).

PATHAK: "I shudder to think of what the families must be feeling right now," he told local news channel India TV.

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PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI: (Speaking Hindi).

PATHAK: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is from Gujarat, called the collapse one of the most painful things in his life. He's expected to visit Morbi Tuesday. As divers continue to look for those still missing, investigators are beginning to examine why the bridge snapped.

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UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Speaking Hindi)

PATHAK: A video taken earlier Sunday shows people packed closely together on the bridge. It's a popular tourist destination, and the crowd was unusually large yesterday because it was the weekend, and it's the festive season in India.

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HARSH SANGHVI: (Speaking Hindi).

PATHAK: Gujarat's home minister, Harsh Sanghvi, told reporters his government has opened an investigation. The bridge was from the late 19th century, and it had recently been renovated. It reopened just last week.

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SANGHVI: (Speaking Hindi).

PATHAK: Sanghvi said the private company in charge of maintaining the bridge will face criminal charges. The head of the local municipality told Indian media that his team did not sign off on reopening the bridge. But the company claims tourists had been swaying it, which caused the collapse.

For NPR News, I'm Sushmita Pathak in Meerut, India.

(SOUNDBITE OF PETER GREGSON'S "2.5 MENUETTS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.