14 Killed As Bridge Collapses In India



No fewer than fourteen people have died as a result of the collapse of a bridge under construction in Kolkata, India.

Below is how ABC Online is reporting it:

At least 14 people have been killed and scores are feared trapped after the collapse of a road bridge under construction in the Indian city of Kolkata, police say.

Firefighters and residents were using their bare hands to try to rescue people pinned under a 100-metre-long metal and cement structure that snapped off at one end and came crashing down in a teeming commercial district near Girish Park.

National Disaster Management Authority spokesman Anurag Gupta said 70 people were injured.

“The rescue operation is still on as many people are trapped under the debris,” he said, adding it was unclear how many people were still trapped, but that both pedestrians and vehicles had been caught by the collapse.

“The problem is that nobody is able to drive an ambulance to the spot,” senior police officer Akhilesh Chaturvedi said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “shocked and saddened” by the incident.

“My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in Kolkata. May the injured recover at the earliest,” he tweeted.

India’s Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh said he was “deeply saddened” that “precious lives have been lost in the Kolkata accident”.

“My heartfelt condolences to the families to the deceased,” he tweeted.

Television footage from the scene showed a bloody hand reaching out from under what appeared to be a massive girder.

People were trying to hand bottles of water to survivors pinned underneath.

“The concrete had been laid last night at this part of the bridge,” resident Ramesh Kejriwal said.

“I am lucky as I was planning to go downstairs to have juice. When I was thinking about it, I saw that the bridge had collapsed.”

A 140-tonne crane brought to the scene was unable to lift the concrete slab under which many people were feared trapped, including passengers in a minibus.

The flyover has been under construction since 2009 and has missed several deadlines for completion.

Kolkata is the venue of this Sunday’s World Twenty20 cricket final.

The accident is the latest in a string of deadly construction collapses in India, some of which have highlighted shoddy building standards.

Photo credit: Reuters





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