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15 people killed as bridge "electrified" by fallen power lines in India

New Delhi — At least 15 people were fatally electrocuted Tuesday night on a bridge in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, police said. The incident happened when an electricity transformer on the banks of the Alaknanda River exploded, resulting in power lines falling onto a bridge across the river in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district.

"It looks like the railing of the bridge got electrified by the wires," V Murugesan, an Uttarakhand police official, told local media. 

"We got a call that a security guard has died of electrocution. When police personnel went with villagers, they found 22 people were electrocuted and suffered severe injuries," district police superintendent Pramendra Dobhal said.

Emergency workers and civilians help carry the body of a victim of a mass-electrocution incident on a bridge over the Alaknanda River in the Chamoli district of northern India's Uttarakhand state, July 19, 2023. Reuters/ANI

At least seven people survived with injuries. They were first admitted to a local hospital but later airlifted to the larger All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Rishikesh.

"Extremely painful news was received of many casualties due to electrocution in Chamoli," said Uttarakhand state Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami in a tweet, adding that "a magisterial inquiry has been ordered into this unfortunate incident. I pray to God for the peace of the departed souls and the speedy recovery of the injured."

Uttarakhand, along with other states in north India the sprawling national capital of Delhi, have been reeling from record rainfall over the past two weeks. The heavy monsoon rains have flooded roads and homes, causing landslides and home collapses that have been blamed for almost 100 deaths.

It was not immediately clear whether Tuesday's incident in Uttarakhand was in any way related to the flooding in the state.

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