15 people were injured in Varkala, Kerala when a floating bridge collapsed

Collapsed floating bridge in Varkala, Kerala.

Seven of the injured are being treated at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, including a 14-year-old girl in critical condition on a ventilator. 

Fifteen individuals, including children, were injured when the floating bridge at Varkala Papanassam Beach collapsed due to high tide and rough waves in Thiruvananthapuram. Seven of the injured are receiving treatment at Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, with a 14-year-old girl in critical condition on ventilator support.

The Varakala police have initiated an investigation into the incident and registered a case. Tourism Minister PA Mohammad Riyas has requested an urgent report from the Tourism Director.

Approximately 20 people were on the floating bridge when the rough sea conditions damaged the handrailing, causing people, including children and women, to fall into the water.

According to reports, two individuals in critical condition have been admitted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital, while others are receiving treatment at Varkala Taluk Hospital. Later in the evening, three more people were transferred to the MCH, as confirmed by an official from DDMA.

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Eyewitnesses and lifeguards mentioned that a major disaster was avoided due to the low number of people on the floating bridge at the time of the incident. The accident occurred around 5 pm on Saturday when rough waves began hitting the floating bridge. Lifeguards and safety officers acted swiftly to rescue those who fell into the sea or were caught in the waves. Of the 15 injured, two have been discharged from the hospital.

Since the introduction of the floating bridge at Varkala Papanasam Beach, there has been a significant increase in tourist traffic to the area. However, there have been complaints about the agency operating the bridge beyond the scheduled hours.

Also read: Indonesia: Floods and landslide leave 19 dead, 7 missing

Despite warnings from the Indian Meteorology Department (IMD) against entering the sea due to rough weather conditions, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) has also advised the public against visiting beaches. Nevertheless, the tourism department permitted the operation of the floating bridge, leading to the accident. This is the second reported floating bridge accident in the state, with the previous one occurring in November last year in Chavakkad, Thrissur.

Floating bridges are being installed in all districts of the state at a cost of Rs 1.25 crores each, under the PPP mode. However, the project, including the introduction of water sports activities by the Tourism Department, has faced criticism from environmental activists. Sanjeev S J of the Environmental Protection and Research Council highlighted irregularities in the project, stating that operations of the floating bridge in Varkala began without obtaining permission from various authorities.

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