On Thursday, 36 people died after falling into an underground well at the Shri Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal Temple in Indore city, India, where they participated in a religious celebration of the Ram Navami festival, which marks the birth of the Rama god.
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The iron grills and tiles that covered the 7.5-meter-deep well collapsed due to the weight of devotees on top of it. The debris buried dozens of people. Other devotees drowned in the water of the well.
Rescue teams used ropes and ladders to pull the bodies out of the well after pumping out the water. Howevever, the well’s narrow path and the remains of the collapse made the task difficult.
Indian State’s Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ordered an investigation into the incident and expressed his condolences to the victims and their families. “Despite all efforts, we could not save many lives,” he lamented.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also promised to compensate US$2,400 to the victims' families.The temple owners had stopped using the well years ago so they covered it with iron grills and tiles.
In January, municipal authorities ordered the temple owners to remove the well's cover because it was an unsafe and unauthorized structure. The temple officials, however, ignored the warning.
Collapses caused by poor construction structures and non-compliance with regulations are common in India. In October 2022, for example, a century-old suspension cable bridge collapsed over a river in Gujarat. This accident caused hundreds of people to fall into the water. At least 132 citizens died in it.