Eight people have been killed in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh after the wall of an ancient cave leading to a Hindu temple collapsed, police said.
The accident at the Bildwar cave in Surajpur district late on Tuesday may have been triggered by blasts at nearby coal mines, officials said.
Police said three of the dead were girls aged between 10 and 13.
Three others were injured after being pulled from the rubble.
"Frequent blasts are carried out in the nearby coal mines and that could be the reason for the cave-in," Chhattisgarh Home Minister, Ram Sewak Pekra told the AFP news agency.
He added that an investigation into the collapse would be carried out.
Some residents of a nearby village told local media they had warned the authorities about cracks in the cave walls, which they believed had been caused by mining blasts.
Senior Surajpur official S Bharti has reportedly announced a relief fund for the families of those who died.
The Bildwar cave is a popular attraction and the temple is visited by worshippers throughout the year.
- 13 October 2013