Mumbai-Goa highway bridge collapse: 2 dead, 20 people missing; NDRF rescue op under way

Two bodies have been recovered in the search operations following the collapse of a British-era bridge, on the Mumbai-Goa highway across the river Savitri. The incident happened around at around 2 am on Tuesday.  Reports also added that at least around 20 people are missing. Four NDRF teams comprising 115 personnel are deployed in the rescue ops, including divers who have been pressed into rescue operations, Rajnath Singh said in parliament. The teams have reached the spot and rescue operations have begun.

 

The coast guard has joined the rescue operation, as reported by Times Now. With the Prime Minister having been apprised of the situation, the centre too has offered assistance to the state government. The Navy has also been pooled in as two aircraft and a Chetak helicopter are also deployed to  expedite the rescue process.

Speaking on the incident, Maharashtra Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis has said that all efforts are being made to locate the two buses save any survivors. A massive search operation is underway, and the Prime Minister has assured of all help from the Centre, Fadnavis said, as reported by ANI. Minister for Public Works Eknath Shinde told reporters that a structural audit of all bridges in Maharashtra been ordered after the tragedy.

 

The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also told the House that the Centre is coordinating with the state government and will provide the necessary help for the rescue operations.

Singh made the statement after Vinayak Raut of Shiv Sena raised the issue, saying the incident happened as the bridge remained operational even though it was considered unsafe and another bridge over the river was constructed by the state government.

The Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly today sought a judicial probe into the Mahad tragedy. Raising the issue in the State Assembly, former CM Prithviraj Chavan also said a case under IPC section 302 should also be filed against PWD minister Chandrakant Patil.

Meanwhile, Raigad SP, Buvez Haque has said that the rescue operations are being impeded due to continuing heavy rainfall and swift flow of the Savitri river but NDRF teams but all possible efforts were being made to locate any survivors, as reported by Times Now. He also advised people to refrain from going out while heavy rainfall continued. He also said that helplines are active to provide any information.

 

According to reports on CNN-News18, two Maharashtra government-run buses, which left Chiplun and Ratnagiri, are said to be missing while several cars have been washed away. The two buses, that went missing, included 18 passengers, two drivers and two conductors. The bridge that collapsed was about 5 km from the town of Mahad in Raigad district, about 170 kilommtre south of Mumbai.

Officials told media that flooding of the river Savitri could be the reason behind the collapse. However, NDRF DG also said that rescue operations will be hampered due to continuous rainfall. "Heavy rains are likely to hamper rescue operations. We hope conditions improve when our teams reach the collapse site."

Chetak helicopters were deployed at around 8 am on Wednesday to carry out search operations to look for those who were swept away after the collapse. The local deputy superintendent told Firstpost that 80 percent of the bridge had collapsed due to heavy rainfall.

"The bridge which collapsed was constructed during the British era. One eyewitness said two cars were washed away. We are trying to confirm the same. The operations are underway. NDRF teams are on their way from Pune," Raigad Collector Sheetal Ugale told CNN-News18. "After talking to NHAI, the traffic has been moved to the new bridge which has been built parallel to the damaged bridge," Sheetal added.

There are two parallel bridges on the river Savitri. The bridge which collapsed was constructed during the British era  and could not withstand the tumultuous rain, news reports said. According to reports, traffic has been redirected from the spot. Officials are expecting fewer casualties and lesser damage since the collapse happened late in the night.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted that the primary reason for the collapse seems to be "the high pressure caused due to flooding of river Savitri due to heavy rains in catchment of Mahabaleshwar." Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke with Fadnavis and was updated with all the details related to the incident.

Meanwhile, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan demanded judicial enquiry in this incident and members of the Opposition also demanded for the resignation of the PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil.

Heavy rainfall has been going on over coastal Maharashtra for the past few days and the last 24 hours have seen torrential downpour that pounded the state.

With 389 mm of rain, Mahabaleswar received the highest rainfall in the country in a span of 24 hours from 8:30 am on Monday, Skymet reported. This was also the highest rainfall recorded in 24 hours during the last 10 years.

With inputs from PTI


Published Date: Aug 03, 2016 10:15 am | Updated Date: Aug 04, 2016 12:25 pm


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