Indore: As many as 35 bodies have been recovered so far after a slab covering a ‘bawdi’ (well) broke at the Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple on the occasion of Ram Navami in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore on Thursday morning due to heavy footfall.
The roof of the well was constructed by laying a concrete slab, supported by iron rods, to cover the bawdi.
The temple located in Patel Nagar, where the tragedy took place, had been constructed after covering the square-shaped step-well of around 20 ft x 20 ft size about four decades ago, PTI reported.
“Our search operation, being carried out with the help of Army, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), is nearing completion. So far, 35 bodies have been recovered from the well,” Indore District Magistrate Ilayaraja T told reporters from the site of the incident.
The bodies of all persons, except one, whose names were mentioned in the list of missing persons, have been recovered so far, he said.
There is a lot of silt in the well and it is being removed to trace the missing person, Illayaraja was quoted as saying.
Earlier, Indore Divisional Commissioner (Revenue) Pawan Kumar Sharma said 16 people injured in the mishap had been admitted to a hospital, while two others were sent home after first aid.
Eyewitnesses told PTI that after 11.30 pm on Thursday, the process of recovering bodies from the well and sending them to a hospital for post-mortem intensified.
A joint team of the Army and the NDRF descended into the well with the help of a crane and trolley to recover the bodies.
The rescue operation was initially hampered as the temple is built in a narrow space and a wall was broken to lower a pipe to pump out water from the well, officials said.
The report quoting an eyewitness said that during the religious programme, there was a huge crowd of devotees at the temple and its floor caved in as it could not bear the load.
Locals said the temple was built by laying a slab over the ancient step-well.