No fewer than 13 women and girls have died after accidentally falling down a well during marriage celebrations in northern India, police said.
The victims were sitting on an iron slab covering the well on Wednesday when it gave way, senior police officer Akhil Kumar told reporters in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh state.
District magistrate S. Rajalingam said the well was old and could not take the weight of those sitting on the covering. “The victims fell down and were crushed under the debris,” he said on Thursday.
The women and children had gathered to take part in a marriage ritual in their village.
The well was more than 15 meters (50 feet) deep, said Muralidhar Singh, a rescuer.
Prime minister Narendra Modi said the accident was “heart-wrenching”.
“The local administration is involved in all possible help,” he tweeted.
Local media reported the victims were taken to hospital, where 13 people were declared dead. Two people suffered serious injuries in the incident. Images from the hospital showed relatives, still in their wedding clothes mourning their loved ones, NDTV reported.
Indian weddings are often grand affairs with huge numbers of guests and lavish ceremonies that run for several days.
In 2017, 24 wedding revellers were killed in the north-western state of Rajasthan when a wall crashed down on them during a storm.