Kolkata bridge collapse kills 1, injures 19. Search continues for survivors
The bridge on Diamond Harbour Road in south Kolkata reportedly collapsed around 4.45 pm on Tuesday.
One person was killed, 19 others injured and around eight people feared trapped as after a portion of a bridge collapsed in south Kolkata on Tuesday evening, authorities said.
A part of the central section of the structure caved in, leading to a few cars, two-wheelers and a bus on the section plunging down.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who confirmed one death, expressed apprehension about the fate of five-eight people who may be buried in the rubble as a section of the Majerhat Bridge on busy Diamond Harbour Road collapsed around 4.45 pm.
Nineteen injured people have been admitted in two city hospitals, she told the media in north Bengal’s Darjeeling, reported IANS.
Expressing concern over the incident,she said her government will initiate a probe into the cause of the collapse.
“We have heard one person died so far,” she said, adding steps are being taken on an emergency footing to rescue those who are trapped.
“We have heard that four-five labourers used to stay in a temporary tin shed under the bridge. If they were there during the collapse, it is possible that something unfortunate may have happened to them. However, all the pedestrians and passengers in the public and private vehicles could be rescued. We are concerned about the lives of five to eight people who might have got trapped underneath.”
Union minister Babul Supriyo, however, said that it was confirmed from several places that four or five people have died, according to an ANI report.
Terming the collapse “deeply unfortunate”, prime minister Narendra Modi, in a tweet, said: “My thoughts are with the families of the victims. I pray that those who are injured recover at the earliest.”
West Bengal governor Kesari Nath Tripathi, who visited the accident site in the evening and offered condolence to the family of the deceased, told media that the cause of the collapse should be inquired into.
“He (the governor) also urges the agencies responsible for maintenance of all the bridges in the state to do a thorough examination of the bridges and take corrective measures to maintain those properly,” said a press statement issued by the Raj Bhavan.
Top officials including Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar rushed to the spot following the incident.
Five teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been sent to Kolkata for rescue operations, Union home minister Rajnath Singh said in a tweet, adding while four NDRF teams comprising about 180 personnel have already reached the spot, another team is on its way.
Personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force were also on the spot.
Eyewitness Sisir Chakraborty said that his vehicle was on the bridge when it collapsed and his driver immediately stopped the car and asked him to get off.
“When I stepped out the entire structure was shaking. Some construction workers rescued at least five persons,” he said, adding there would have been a bigger disaster if the portion over the railway lines with high tension wires had collapsed.
One man at the site told reporters that they heard a loud sound in the evening and the power supply in the area had gone off. They came to know a section of the bridge had collapsed and rushed to help the police who had rushed to the spot.
Another person on the spot alleged that the rescue operations had begun late. He said they had no idea of the casualties had seen there were motor cycles and other vehicles trapped in the debris.
The accident severely hit transport services connecting the areas in the south-western part of the city and South 24 Parganas district, affecting thousands of commuters in the peak evening hour, reported PTI.
A Kolkata Traffic Police officer said traffic movement through Diamond Harbour Road in Taratala area has been suspended following the incident, while traffic from various parts of South 24 Parganas and Behala area in the city were being diverted from Diamond Park area. Movement of traffic towards south-west Kolkata and South 24 Parganas were being diverted from Kidderpore and through Port area and Circular Garden Reach Road, he said.
Train services in Circular Railway and Sealdah-Budge Budge line have been suspended as precautionary measure, Eastern Railway spokesman R N Mahapatra said, adding that the collapse of a portion of the bridge over railway tracks occurred in the adjacent areas of Circular Railway line at Majherhat had damaged a signal post on the track.
The last time a flyover collapsed in the city was on March 31, 2016, when a nearly 500 feet section of an under construction structure caved in at the city’s trading hub of Burrabazar killing 27 persons and injuring about 80.
On March 3, 2013, a curved section of a flyover at Ultadanga in Kolkata connecting VIP Road and E M Bypass collapsed when a goods truck was passing. However, a disaster was averted as the incident happened around midnight.