“This happened during a wedding programme where some people were sitting on a slab of a well and due to heavy load, the slab collapsed,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences in a tweet and said authorities were doing all they could to help in the crisis.
“The accident in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, is heart-wrenching,” Modi said. “I express my deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in this. I wish the injured a speedy recovery.”
Indian news outlet NDTV reported that seven women and six girls were among the dead, including a 10-year-old and a 1-year-old.
The well was more than 50 feet deep, Muralidhar Singh, a rescuer, told the Associated Press.
Kushinagar has a population of about 3.5 million and is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state.
Local media outlets reported that the fall happened during a pre-wedding event known as the haldi ceremony. The traditional party usually involves female friends and family members applying a paste of golden turmeric powder on the bride and groom, as a blessing.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted that he was saddened by the news. “My deepest condolences to all the bereaved families who lost their loved ones in this tragic accident. I wish the injured a speedy recovery,” he said. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also told reporters that authorities were investigating and promised financial compensation.
Earlier this month, a 5-year-old boy in Morocco made global headlines when he became trapped and later died after falling into a well in the country’s northern Chefchaouen province. Rescuers pulled Rayan Oram out of a 100-foot well after tunneling for days.