Covering over well at Indian temple collapses, killing 11


New Delhi (AP) — A structure built over an old temple well in India collapsed Thursday as a large crowd of devotees prayed at a festival for Rama, one of the most widely worshipped Hindu deities, killing at least 11 people, officials said.

Up to 35 people fell into the well in the temple complex in Indore in central Madhya Pradesh state when the structure collapsed and were covered by falling debris, police Commissioner Makrand Deoskar said.

The structure apparently caved in because it could not handle the weight of the large crowd. The state’s top elected official, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, ordered an investigation.

Chouhan said 18 people were rescued and hospitalized with injuries.

Rescue workers were pumping the water out of the well looking for any more people still trapped there, local news reports said.

Temple authorities had stopped using the well years ago and covered it with the structure.

Witnesses said a large crowd of devotees had thronged the temple to perform a fire ritual and celebrate the Hindu festival.

Building collapses are common in India because of poor construction and a failure to observe regulations.

In October, a century-old cable suspension bridge collapsed into a river in the western state of Gujarat, sending hundreds of people plunging into the water and killing at least 132 in one of the worst accidents in the country in the past decade.

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