Suryapet: Around 80 people were injured when a makeshift spectator gallery collapsed during the 47th Junior National-level Kabaddi tournament at the SP office grounds in Suryapet on Monday.

Telangana Kabaddi Association along with the Kabaddi Association of Suryapet district had organized the event. The four-­day championship locally sponsored by Savitramma Foundation is scheduled to host 105 matches. Around 29 boys' and 28 girls' teams from 29 states are participating in the tourney. The tournament was scheduled to be inaugurated by energy minister G. Jagadish Reddy.

"Four members suffered leg fractures and are being treated. A thorough investigation will be conducted to determine the causes of the incident," the minister said.

At about 6.30 pm, a few minutes after the opening ceremony started, one of the three galleries set up for the spectators collapsed. As the ceremony progressed, the gallery suddenly came crashing down.

Caught unawares, the organizers too could not act immediately. When the police arrived, the scene looked frightening with the injured lying on the ground writhing in pain. Later medical teams arrived and shifted the injured persons to a nearby hospital.

Nearly 3,000 spectators were present in the stadium when the incident occurred. Around 1,200 of them were sitting on one side of the gallery.

"The fall could be due to the structural defects in the temporary structure. More details would come out as investigation progresses," said Superintendent of Police, Suryapet R Bhaskaran.

The collapse of the gallery was attributed to the weak structure. However, the exact cause of the mishap would be known only after investigation, police said.

Footage from the accident went viral on social media. All those trapped under the makeshift gallery were rescued and the injured shifted to Suryapet government hospital and some private hospitals. Four people were critically injured, said the superintendent of police.

According to police officials, it is suspected that overcrowding of the gallery with more than 500 people led to the collapse. More than 200 police personnel in and around the venue launched the rescue operation and evacuated the injured to hospitals.

Energy Minister G Jagadish Reddy, who was to inaugurate the programme, rushed to the spot immediately and monitored the rescue operations. The Minister instructed doctors to provide the best treatment to the injured. He visited the victims at the hospital.

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