Fears af­ter bridge col­lapse

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

Two buses plunged into a flooded river af­ter an old bridge col­lapsed in west­ern In­dia, leav­ing at least 22 peo­ple missing and feared dead, an of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day.

Res­cuers had not found the buses or any sur­vivors hours af­ter the sin­gle-lane bridge on the Mum­bai-Goa high­way col­lapsed about mid­night on Tues­day, said Deven­dra Fad­navis, Ma­ha­rash­tra state's chief min­is­ter.

The two Ma­ha­rash­tra staterun buses were car­ry­ing a to­tal of 18 pas­sen­gers, two driv­ers and two con­duc­tors, ac­cord­ing to Fad­navis.

He said the bridge, con­structed in the 1940s, likely col­lapsed be­cause it was buf­feted by strong cur­rents from the Sav­itri River, which was flooded by mon­soon rains.

OP Singh, chief of the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Re­sponse Force, said that 80 res­cuers, in­clud­ing divers, rushed to the area, but that their ef­forts were be­ing ham­pered by heavy rains.

A he­li­copter hov­ered over the area try­ing to spot the buses or any bod­ies float­ing in the swollen river.

The heavy mon­soon rains in In­dia has forced a mil­lion peo­ple to take shelter in gov­ern­ment-run re­lief camps.

In­ces­sant down­pours have dam­aged swaths of land, up­rooted trees and snapped tele­phone ca­bles in dozens of dis­tricts in the states of Bi­har in the east, As­sam in the re­mote north­east and Hi­machal Pradesh in the north.

The heavy mon­soon rains have come af­ter two straight years of drought in In­dia.

On Mon­day, land­slides and heavy rains blocked highways lead­ing to Ti­bet and Manali, a tourist re­sort in Hi­machal Pradesh state, with hun­dreds of peo­ple stranded for sev­eral hours be­fore res­cuers cleared the way, the Press Trust of In­dia news agency said.

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