At Least 14 People Killed in India When Temple Well Cover Collapsed

At least 14 people died on Thursday when they plunged into a well after its lid collapsed inside an overcrowded temple in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, local officials said.

Rescue workers were trying to help at least 16 other people trapped and injured in the well, a communal water source with a ladder under the floor of the Shri Bileshwar Mahadev Jhulelal Temple in Indore city, according to the police commissioner, Makrand Deoskar. Water is being pumped out to aid the process.

The temple, and many others across India, are full of devotees celebrating the Hindu festival of Ram Navami, the birthday of Lord Ram.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences to the family on Twitter, saying he was “deeply saddened by the accident in Indore.”

Video recording From the temple, people can be seen using ladders to reach people trapped in the well, which is half covered with an iron net. Police officers used the temple's microphone to clear the crowd from the scene.

One witness, Prakash Patel, said he was entering the temple when he heard a loud bang and worshipers started running and screaming for help.

“Some of the people in the well were clinging to the iron nets, and many of those who died were women and children,” he said.

Narottam Mishra, home minister of Madhya Pradesh state, said the government had opened an investigation and the families of those killed would be compensated.

The Ram Navami festival is marked by large street processions of Hindus, and this year it falls during the holy month of Ramadan. Sectarian violence was reported on Thursday in several places, including the states of West Bengal, Gujarat and Maharashtra, when worshipers clashed.