Woman lost 8 family members when the Morbi hanging bridge collapsed

I will never forget the sight of the dead bodies coming into the hospital, one after another. On the day of my engagement, instead of celebrating, we picked up eight bodies. My house sits silently. No longer do you hear the joyful voices of children.

  • 6 months ago
  • December 14, 2022
5 min read
The Morbi hanging bridge in India taken prior to renovations and the bridge collapse The Morbi hanging bridge in India taken prior to renovations and the bridge collapse | Photo courtesy of Adam Cohn on Flickr.
Woman in shadow
Interview Subject
Noorja Majothi, a resident of Morbi, grew up in Kantipur with her five-member family. She lost her brother, his wife, their two children, and three members of her cousin’s family when the Morbi hanging bridge collapsed. The tragedy occurred on the eve of her engagement ceremony and many of the family members were in town for the celebration. Orato journalist Priyanka Chandani obtained the exclusive interview and worked with the family on background information. However, due to some technological challenges and the family’s extreme grief, she could not provide a subject photo.
Background Information
The hanging bridge in Morbi, India was touted as an archeological marvel, attracting many tourists to the site for years. The colonial-era bridge had only recently reopened after months of renovations.

According to news reports, when the bridge collapsed, more thna 200 people had gathered on it. One hundred and thirty-five people died. At least nine people were subsequently arrested for culpable homicide.  

MORBI, India ꟷ On Sunday, October 30, 2022, I said goodbye to nine of my family members who went to visit the Morbi hanging bridge in India. We had my engagement ceremony scheduled for the next day. What should have been a joyful gathering turned into the worst day of my life. Out of my nine family members, only one returned after the hanging bridge collapsed, killing 135 people.

Family visiting for an engagement ceremony take a quick trip to the Morbi hanging bridge, never to return

For several days before the accident, we excitedly prepared for the engagement ceremony at my home, where my fiancé and I would celebrate our future marriage with our family. With the decorations in place, tents erected in the backyard, henna applied to my hands, and the house lit up, guests began arriving from cities around India.

Read more stories out of India from Orato World Media.

As part of their visit, my brother, his wife, their two kids, and our cousins’ family decided to take a quick trip to the Morbi hanging bridge on the Machchhu River. It had become quite an attraction in the village with people coming from far away to experience it. It just reopened after 13 months of maintenance.

As the henna was placed on my hands, my niece came running in asking for chocolate. I told her I would get her some sweets as soon as they finished. I promised her. As my family got ready to leave, she reminded me again about the chocolate. She asked me to have it for her after returning from the bridge. I never spoke to my niece again. Only one person out of the nine returned that night. My cousin did not go on the bridge because heights make her dizzy. She watched her two children die before her eyes.

The site of the ceremony becomes a funeral space

The tents in my backyard meant for our engagement party now serve as shade for the funeral coffins. In the very spot where my fiancé and I would have sat for our ceremony, four coffins occupy the space.

While I felt ready for my special day, I also remember the sensation of something troubling me that morning. I thought I had normal engagement jitters but remember feeling like I did not want my family to go to the Morbi bridge. I wanted to stop them, but could not bring myself to disturb the children’s excitement.

My younger brother heard the news of the bridge collapse first and rushed to the site, while my cousin returned home crying. It took my brother hours of rigorous search to locate everyone. I sat home, helplessly waiting for a miracle. When my father reached the hospital, he saw my brother’s and niece’s bodies laying there. For several more hours, he worked to locate the rest of the bodies. The doctor told my dad the water in the river where they plummeted to their deaths was polluted with chemicals. The thought of it troubles me.

The Morbi hanging bridge | Photo courtesy of Adam Cohn on Flickr

We found out from my cousin who survived that day, she stood screaming for help, as she watched the children and our other family members lose hold of the bridge. She witnessed the bridge collapse and fall into the water. Crying uncontrollably, she sobbed, “I have lost everything.” It’s all she says since that day. Like many of us, she stopped eating and lives in a state of shock.

When I see my brother’s clothing and the children’s school books and toys, I think of their death. Every minute it consumes my mind. I feel guilty they came here for my party.

Despite her anguish, woman speaks out: demands punishment for the Morbi bridge collapse

I will never forget the sight of the dead bodies coming into the hospital, one after another. I lost a brother, niece, nephew, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and my cousin’s family. My sister became a widow. On the day of my engagement, instead of celebrating, we picked up eight bodies. My house sits silently. No longer do you hear the joyful voices of children.

I wonder who to blame. We hear the government will give us some monetary compensation but it can never make up for our loss – for this murder. Because of negligence, I will never see my brother again; the person who served as my comfortable place, who would do anything for me despite his limited income.

Now my younger brother asks many questions and I have no answers. No one does. I want to see the responsible parties punished for this. The municipality says they knew the bridge remained unsafe but authorities opened it without their permission. We see resignations and protests, but nothing will bring my family back.

A month has passed. I try to forget but it feels like it would be better if we all died. My house feels barren. Everyone cries all the time. I have spoken little about this incident, but I speak now because I want people to know the truth. I want the criminals to be punished for opening a defective bridge and killing so many people.

Translation Disclaimer

Translations provided by Orato World Media are intended to result in the end translated document being understandable in the end language. Although every effort is made to ensure our translations are accurate we cannot guarantee the translation will be without errors.


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