India: More than 100 injured as crowded gallery of Telangana stadium collapses

Hyderabad: At least 100 spectators were injured, 20 of them seriously, when a crowded temporary gallery at a stadium in Suryapet district of Telangana collapsed just before a National Kabaddi Championship was to be inaugurated Monday night.

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Telangana state energy minister Jagadish Reddy who was to inaugurate the event in Suryapet, 137km east of Hyderabad, told the media “it was sheer providence that nobody died in the accident”.

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About 5,000 people had packed into the stadium to watch the opening ceremony of the tournament in which 59 teams from across India are participating.

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As the biggest gallery of the stadium where 2,000 people were sitting suddenly collapsed, fear and panic gripped the venue amid cries for help, police said.

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Among the injured at least four suffered bone fractures.

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There was a stampede like situation as the police and other emergency services rushed to rescue the people, some of them trapped under the scaffolding. Other spectators also joined the rescue efforts and the injured were rushed to hospitals in Suryapet and the nearby town of Narketpally. Some critically injured were taken to the state capital Hyderabad.

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The local unit of Indian Medical Association sent 40 orthopaedic doctors to treat the injured.

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District superintendent of police R. Bhaskaran said: “Apparently the structure of the temporary gallery was weak and it led to the collapse. We will know the real cause after an in-depth probe”.

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The 47th Junior National Kabaddi Championship was organised by the National Kabaddi Federation in collaboration with the Telangana State Kabaddi Association, and arrangements were made by the local association.

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Police have booked a case of neglect against the company that built and decorated the gallery.

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Videos of the collapse of the gallery went viral on social media.

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As kabaddi is a popular game in India, the tournament had attracted people in large numbers from afar.

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