35 dead in Indore temple stepwell roof collapse, 14 others rescued
Water was drained out of the 40-ft deep ancient stepwell (bavdi) to retrieve more bodies trapped inside.
BHOPAL: The death toll in the Indore temple stepwell collapse incident has increased to 35, Indore Collector Dr Ilayaraja T said on Friday.
The concrete slab-roof covering an ancient stepwell ('bavdi') caved in during the Ram Navami celebration at the Beleshwar Jhulelal Mahadev Temple in the city's Patel Nagar area, on Thursday at 11 am.
Overcrowding in the temple premises is said to be the reason for the collapse.
"Total of 35 people died, one missing and 14 people have been rescued. Two people returned home safely after getting treatment. The search operation to trace persons reported missing is underway," the Indore Collector said.
"The 18 hours long rescue operation started at around 12:30 on Thursday, and is still ongoing," Collector Ilayaraja T added.
According to officials, a team of 75 army personnel along with NDRF and SDRF were involved in the operation.
A few rescued devotees are stated to be in a critical condition and are in ICUs.
The bodies have been shifted to Indore's Maharaja Yeshwant Rao hospital.
Divers along with special equipment were sent into the stepwell. Water was drained out.
Ladders made out of ropes were used in the rescue.
Indore Mayor Pushyamitra Bhargava, the District Collector, and the Police Commissioner supervised rescue operations by the local police and the State Disaster Emergency Response Force personnel.
Key political leaders, including national BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, his MLA son Akash Vijayvargiya, and Congress MLA Jitu Patwari are at the spot.Briefing journalists at the spot, Kailash Vijayvargiya said: "I've asked the authorities to provide oxygen support and lights inside the well."
A magisterial probe has been instituted to look into the mishap.
Rs 5 lakh will be given to the kin of each of the deceased. Rs 50,000 will be given to those injured.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted about the incident and offered prayers to the families of the victims. "Extremely pained by the mishap in Indore. Spoke to CM Shivraj Chouhan Ji and took an update on the situation. The State Government is spearheading rescue and relief work at a quick pace. My prayers with all those affected and their families," he tweeted.
(With online desk and ANI inputs)