Accessibility links

Nepal Launches Rescue Operation to Search for Survivors of Bridge Collapse


In Nepal, authorities mounted a massive rescue operation to find survivors after a bridge over a river collapsed in a remote part of the country. As Anjana Pasricha reports, at least 15 people were killed in the accident and scores are missing.

Soldiers and police officers began scouring the Bheri River early Wednesday for villagers who fell into its icy waters when a bridge collapsed about 350 kilometers west of Kathmandu.

The accident occurred Tuesday as hundreds of people were crossing the bridge to attend a monthly Hindu religious fair to celebrate the full moon.

Many of the people who plunged into the river managed to swim ashore. But several people died, scores were injured, and many are missing.

Dev Gautam, from the Nepal Red Cross Society in the district, has been at the river with a team of rescue volunteers.

Gautam says hopes of finding survivors have faded, but several teams of rescuers kept up efforts to trace the missing people throughout the day. He says most of the injured have been ferried to local hospitals.

Local officials say strong currents in the river made the task of finding survivors difficult. They fear that many victims may have been swept down the river.

Officials say it is difficult to know how many are missing until information is collected from all neighboring villages.

The bridge was built earlier this year with metal and steel coils. But officials say pillars supporting the bridge apparently snapped under the weight of the crowd trying to cross it.

Nepal is a mountainous country crossed by streams and rivers. Foot bridges over rivers help to connect villages in remote areas, where there are few roads.

XS
SM
MD
LG