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Nine Arrested After India Bridge Collapses, Killing 134

People gather as rescuers search for survivors after a suspension bridge collapsed in Morbi town in the western state of Gujarat, India, Oct. 31, 2022.
Authorities in India say they have arrested nine people in connection with a suspension bridge collapse, in the western state of Gujarat, that killed at least 134 people.

According to police, those arrested include managerial staff at the company that operated the bridge, which had recently undergone renovations. Police say more people are likely to be arrested.

Authorities say they have opened a case against the bridge's operator, Oreva Group, for suspected culpable homicide.

Local media reports said Monday that the nearly 150-year-old bridge over the Machchu river reopened five days ago after undergoing seven months of repair work by a private company. The reports said the Morbi city bridge had not, however, received the local government's fitness or safety certificate.

Many people were hospitalized following Sunday's collapse, which plunged hundreds of people into the river, and officials say they fear the death count could rise.

U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement Monday that he and his wife, Jill, "send our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones during the bridge collapse and join the people of Gujarat in mourning the loss of too many lives cut short.

"Today, our hearts are with India," he said.

Hundreds of people had crowded onto the bridge during celebrations for the Hindu festival of Diwali, officials said.

CCTV footage from the site shows a group of young men trying to rock the suspension bridge from side to side before the cables gave way, the Reuters news agency reported.

Emergency workers and teams of military personnel have been deployed to help in the rescue operation.

Officials said they were searching for people who could be trapped under the remains of the bridge but said the river's muddy waters were hampering efforts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Gujarat at the time of the accident, said he was "deeply saddened by the tragedy" in his home state. His office has announced compensation for the families of the dead.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.