Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Bridge collapses, killing 15 on religious pilgrimage

Dec 25 - At least 15 persons died and dozens of others went missing when a suspension bridge over the Bheri River at Shobhaghat near Mehalkuna bazaar, Surkhet district collapsed on Tuesday afternoon. Of the dead, four were minors. Among the dead, eight-year-old girl Yamuna Shirish of Sera in Gumi VDC breathed her last while under treatment at Surkhet Regional Hospital, according to Bheri Zonal Police Office at Nepalgunj.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, the Armed Police Force confirmed the deaths of 15 including three women and two children. 32 people including 20 women and 12 men are receiving treatment at Surkhet Regional Hospital.
Around 200 of those who fell into the river reportedly managed to swim to safety while a considerable number of others were rescued. The ropes of broken suspension bridge save the lives of many people. People came out by grasping the ropes.Personnel of the Armed Police Force (APF), the Nepal Army (NA) and Nepal Police and locals have been searching for the missing however people say that search operation is not smooth. Also, the harsh geography, nights, and bad weathers are obstructing the search operation. They have resumed the rescue operation from 7:00 am today.
Over 500people were estimated to have been on the bridge when the mishap occurred. They were crossing the river to participate in a yearly fair on the other side of the river. The site is located 40 kilometers northwest of Surkhet district headquarters. Many of the injured were taken to hospital by bicycle, motorcycle and other available means. The heavily-crowded bridge collapsed after a support pillar at one end collapsed under the weight.
This suspension bridge was constructed just one year ago. The carelessness of people and the corruption in the construction are the major reasons for untimely collapse and death of such a big number of people. The constructor, builder, contractors and the governmental authorities should be punished.

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