Indian Bridge Collapses: Twenty People Missing

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Two people have died and at least 20 others are missing after a bridge collapsed into a flooded river in western India.

Two state-run buses plunged into the fast-flowing water when the bridge was washed away near Mahabaleshwar, south of Mumbai, around midnight on Tuesday.

Large chunks of the single-lane bridge, built in the British colonial era, fell into the Savitri River, which was swollen by days of torrential monsoon rains.

Emergency workers have pulled two bodies from the river, but they were still searching for the others feared swept downstream following the accident.

More than 100 rescuers, including divers, rushed to the area, but their efforts were being hampered by heavy rains, said the head of the National Disaster Response Force, OP Singh.

“The flow of currents is very strong, making it difficult to launch a full-scale search operation,” he said.

The collapsed bridge

The collapsed bridge over the rain-swollen Savitri River

The air force, navy and coastguard have also deployed helicopters to search the river.

Maharashtra state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said the bridge appeared to have collapsed after being pounded by the flooded river.

“The primary reason seems to be the high pressure caused due to flooding of river Savitri due to heavy rains in catchment of Mahabaleshwar,” he said on Twitter.

The bridge, constructed in the 1940s, was the older of two parallel bridges which are on a highway connecting India’s financial capital with the tourism state of Goa.

The collapse is the latest in a string of deadly accidents in India where safety rules and regulations may not be enforced and poor building material is used.

Twenty-six people were killed in the eastern city of Kolkata in April after an under-construction flyover collapsed.

Scores of people also die each year in India and the neighbouring countries of Nepal and Bangladesh a result of flooding and landslides during the monsoon season.

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