Karnataka’s first floating bridge at Malpe in Udupi district was damaged on the night of May 8 after being hit by huge waves. Images and videos of the damaged bridge and pontoon blocks lying on the beach were being widely circulated on social media on May 9

Karnataka’s first floating bridge at Malpe in Udupi district was damaged on the night of May 8 after being hit by huge waves. Images and videos of the damaged bridge and pontoon blocks lying on the beach were being widely circulated on social media on May 9

Following damage to the new floating bridge, the Udupi district administration suspended all water sports activities at Malpe beach and St. Mary’s Island on May 9.

Udupi Municipal Commissioner and Secretary of Malpe Development Committee Udaya Shetty said, due to cyclone effect, the sea is rough and going close to the water is unsafe. Hence, until further orders from the district administration, water sports activities at Malpe beach remains suspended. There will be no ferry services to take tourists to St. Mary’s Island.

Karnataka’s first floating bridge was damaged on the night of May 8 after being hit by huge waves. Images and videos of the damaged bridge and pontoon blocks lying on the beach were being widely circulated on social media on May 9.

Udupi MLA K. Raghupathi Bhat spent some time on Karnataka’s first floating bridge at Malpe beach in Udupi. 

Udupi MLA K. Raghupathi Bhat spent some time on Karnataka’s first floating bridge at Malpe beach in Udupi. 
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Udupi MLA K. Raghupathi Bhat told The Hindu that all water sports activities, including use of floating bridge, were suspended at Malpe beach since May 8 evening because of the rough sea. No one is allowed to enter the water.

“The floating bridge was damaged after being hit by huge waves on May 8 night. Some pontoon blocks have come off. It’s not unusual. These blocks can be reset, and the bridge will be restored,” Mr. Bhat said.

The floating bridge on Malpe beach is the initiative and is operated by a group of local entrepreneurs. “We are not operating the floating bridge,” he said in response to reports questioning the Karnataka Government’s decision to have one at Malpe.

The 100-metre-long and 3.5-metre-wide floating bridge is being operated by Hanuman Vitobha Bhajana Mandali. Mr. Bhat inaugurated the bridge on May 6. A visitor is being charged ₹100. Every visitor should wear a life jacket. A maximum of 100 visitors are being accommodated in each session.

Visitors can stay for 15 minutes on a 12-metre-long and 7.5-metre-wide space at the end of the bridge facing the sea. Ten lifeguards and 30 lifebuoys have been deployed on the bridge for the safety of visitors.

Sudesh Shetty from Hanuman Vitobha Bhajana Mandali said, “Due to cyclone effect and heavy wind, we had disconnected the locks of the bridge so that the floating bridge does not suffer any damage. As a result, some of the blocks of the bridge were floating in the sea on May 9 morning.” The floating bridge will be closed following a notice from the district administration that has barred all water sports activities (in view of the rough sea).