The incident occurred as devotees gathered in Madhya Pradesh state’s Indore city to celebrate the Hindu festival of Ram Navami.
At least 35 people have been killed and more than a dozen others injured in central India after the covering of a temple well collapsed and people fell inside, local officials said.
The incident occurred as devotees gathered at a temple in Indore in Madhya Pradesh state to celebrate the Hindu festival of Ram Navami on Thursday, officials said.
“We have rescued 18 people, 35 have been found dead and 16 are injured,” Ilayaraja T, Indore’s district magistrate, told the Reuters news agency on Friday.
VIDEO | Rescue operations are still underway at Indore’s Beleshwar Mahadev Temple where a rooftop of a stepwell collapsed yesterday during a ‘havan’ program held on the occasion of Ram Navami. pic.twitter.com/Tmx4M6mffp
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) March 31, 2023
The Times of India newspaper said the rescue work was expedited on Thursday night after underwater cameras showed bodies floating in the muddy waters of the well.
Nearly 140 rescuers used ropes and ladders to pull the bodies from the well after pumping out the water. A narrow path and debris in the well made the task difficult.
Dozens of people had fallen into the well in the temple complex and were covered by falling debris, Police Commissioner Makrand Deoskar said.
Temple authorities had stopped using the well years ago and had covered the mouth with iron grills and tiles, officials said.
The structure caved in because it could not handle the weight of the large crowd, said the state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
Chouhan said 18 people were rescued and hospitalised with injuries. He ordered an investigation into the incident.
Municipal authorities in January ordered temple owners to remove the covering of the well because it was an unsafe and unauthorised structure but temple authorities ignored the warning, the Times of India reported.
Witnesses said a large crowd of devotees had thronged the temple to perform a fire ritual to mark the Hindu festival.
Building collapses are common in India because of poor construction and a failure to observe regulations.
In October, a century-old cable suspension bridge collapsed into a river in the western state of Gujarat, sending hundreds of people plunging into the water and killing at least 132 in one of the worst accidents in the country in the past decade.