Several injured as hanging bridge snaps at Vagamon

Kolahalamedu near Vagamon

Vagamon: Twelve visitors, including two nuns, were injured when the hanging bridge at Vagamon Adventure Park snapped on Saturday, a week after it was inaugurated.

The injured were part of a team from St Geroge church Manjapra, Angamaly. They were shifted to Angamaly after treatment at hospitals in Kottayam.

The team got onto the ropeway around 2pm and the metallic rope on the bottom broke instantly. They tried to hang on to the one on top but it snapped too, sending everyone down 15 feet. Some fell on to rocks below causing injury.

Security personnel say visitors neglected their request not to go on the bridge since it wasn't ready yet. Some visitors heckled the security personnel for denying entry. The police were informed when visitors went on bridge against restrictions, they said.

Fr Vakkachan Koombayil, however, said there was no statutory warning on the bridge or a permissible number who can go at a time. The team was merely following another batch of visitors on to the bridge.

Minister for inquiry

Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said the no instructions were given to allow visitors onto the bridge. An inquiry into the incident will be ordered. It is a joint project with the central tourism department, and its control is yet to be handed over to state government. The bridge had not been given security clearance. The incident happened because security instructions were not followed, said the minister.

The bridge

The rope bridge is in the adventure park next to suicide point, 1.5 kilometres from Vagamon route. The park has 20 different rides. The ropeway was built by Hindustan Prefab Limited under Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society’s watch on tourism department’s land. It is yet to be transferred to the control of Idukki district tourism promotion council, said its secretary Jayan P Vijayan.

The bridge is part of the central government’s Gavi-Vagamon-Thekkady tourism circuit project. It was inaugurated by Minister Alphons Kannanthanam on February 17.

The police have registered a case. A Tehsildar report seeking a detailed inquiry into the incident was sent to the district collector. The adventure park is now closed for visitors, said district tourism promotion council.

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