- Commonwealth - India
Pedestrian bridge outside main Delhi stadium collapses
A pedestrian bridge near the main Commonwealth stadium in New Delhi collapsed on Tuesday, injuring at least 23 people as living and security conditions at Delhi's Games village drew fierce criticism from participants.
AFP - A footbridge under construction at the main stadium for the Delhi Commonwealth Games collapsed on Tuesday, injuring 23 labourers, five seriously, police said.
The approximately 100-metre (328-foot) pedestrian bridge fell down just outside the main Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which will host the opening ceremony and athletics when the showpiece event begins on October 3.
It was being built to link the parking lot with the stadium.
"The number of injured has gone up to 23... Five labourers are critically injured," a senior Delhi policeman H.G.S. Dhaliwal told the NDTV news channel.
An AFP reporter at the scene said police had sealed off the area and heavy lifting equipment had begun shifting sections of the footbridge which had fallen down onto the car park tarmac below.
A giant steel arch over the bridge was still standing, but load-bearing metal cables that had previously held up the overpass had snapped and could be seen dangling in the air.
"The cementing of the footbridge was being done in the morning," chief secretary of Delhi Rakesh Mehta told CNN-IBN television. "The engineers are looking into the cause of the accident."
Construction work for the games, expected to draw 7,000 athletes and officials to the Indian capital, has been severely delayed and doubts have been raised about the quality of the construction.
India's chief anti-corruption body found a host of problems with construction work in a July investigation, including dubious contracts and the use of poor quality materials.
The chief technical examiner from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) inspected 15 sites around the national capital and found a number of irregularities and suspect practices by contractors and public bodies.
The collapse came as the Commonwealth Games Federation went public with complaints about the athletes' village, which was described as "filthy", "uninhabitable" and "not fit for humans" by participants and officials.
The official price tag for the games is three billion US dollars -- about five times the original figure.