India temple floor collapse leaves at least 12 Hindu worshipers dead as victims fall into walk-in well
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New Delhi — At least 12 people died Thursday when the floor of a Hindu temple in central India collapsed under the weight of faithful who had flocked to the site to mark a holy day. Dozens of people in the Beleshwar Mahadev temple in Madhya Pradesh state’s Indore city fell into the stairwell of a large open well when the floor underneath them collapsed Thursday morning.
The incident took place as Hindu devotees marked Ram Navami, celebrated as the birthday of the Hindu god Ram.
Approximately 30 people fell into the stairway of the well, which worshipers can walk down into to reach the water. Police said 17 people were rescued but 12 had died in the collapse.
Most of those rescued were brought to a local hospital and treated for injuries.
Police and rescue teams used ropes and ladders to bring people off the stairwell.
The state’s Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan described called the incident “unfortunate.”
The rescue operation had ended by late afternoon local time.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “extremely pained by the mishap,” adding that he had spoken with the state’s chief minister for an update on the situation as the state government was “spearheading rescue and relief work at a quick pace.”
Modi, who is Hindu, said his prayers were with the families of those affected.
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