10 charged in India over footbridge collapse

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10 charged in India over footbridge collapse

A top official told Reuters that 10 people were charged with homicide on Friday in India, as well as the collapse of a colonial-era footbridge last year that killed at least 135 people.

The 145-year-old suspension bridge in the town of Morbi was packed with sightseers when it collapsed on October 30, plunging hundreds into the Machchhu River below. It had just days before been reopened after repairs.

Most of the victims were women and children who drowned.

The police in the western state of Gujarat have issued an arrest warrant for the boss of the company that managed the bridge, and on Friday named him as one of the main accused in a charge sheet filed in a Morbi court, said Ashok Kumar Yadav, a top state police official.

Jaysukh Patel, the managing director of the Oreva Group, was absconding, and a lookout circular was issued for him last week to prevent him from leaving the country, police said.

The Oreva Group did not respond to emailed requests for comment. Patel's mobile phone was turned off and text messages sent to him could not be delivered.

Besides Patel, the more than 1,200-page charge sheet names two managers of the Oreva Group, two ticket clerks, three security guards and two people from a firm contracted by Oreva to repair the bridge before it is opened to the public, Yadav said.