35 bodies found inside well after collapse at Indian temple
Thirty-five bodies have been found inside a well at a Hindu temple in central India after dozens of people fell into the muddy water when the well’s cover collapsed, officials said Friday.
Video of Thursday's collapse at the temple complex in Indore in Madhya Pradesh state showed chaos afterward, with people rushing toward the exits. An excavator pulled down a wall of the decades-old temple to help people flee.
Nearly 140 rescuers, including army personnel, 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.
Witnesses said a large crowd of devotees had thronged the temple to perform a fire ritual and celebrate the festival for the deity Rama.
Dozens of people fell into the water when the structure over the well collapsed and were covered by falling debris, police Commissioner Makrand Deoskar said.
Kantibhai Patel, president of a residents' association, told reporters that authorities were slow to react and the first ambulance reached the spot an hour after the alert.
The structure apparently caved in because it could not handle the weight of the large crowd, said the state's top elected official, Shivraj Singh Chauhan. He ordered an investigation.