NEW DELHI (AP) — Hindu festival-goers crossing a bridge in central India panicked at rumors the bridge would collapse, and the resulting crush killed at least 89 people, police said.
Hours after Sunday's collapse, relatives were searching for loved ones among the bodies grouped on the concrete, two-lane bridge over the Sindh River in the Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh state.
More than 100 people were being treated in a hospital for injuries including broken bones.
Police wielding sticks had charged the crowd to contain the rush and people retaliated by throwing stones at the officers, D.K. Arya, deputy inspector general of police, told the Press Trust of India. One officer was badly injured.
Among the 89 people killed by the crush were 17 children and 31 women, he said.
It was not immediately clear how many people were on the bridge when the stampede started. Local media said some 500,000 people had gone to the remote Ratangarh village temple to honor the Hindu mother goddess Durga on the last day of the popular 10-day Navaratra festival.
The state has ordered a judicial inquiry.
Sonia Gandhi, the leader of India's ruling Congress Party, expressed "shock and deep anguish over the tragic incident," according to a party statement.