At least 18 killed in Indian railway bridge collapse

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Joined: Feb 2019

Accidents on large infrastructure construction sites are common in India.

At least 18 labourers working on a railway bridge being built across a ravine in India’s northeastern Mizoram state were killed when it collapsed on Wednesday, police said, with several others missing.

Video footage posted by Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga showed a metal frame that had toppled off towering columns into a wooded valley below.

“Under construction railway over bridge at Sairang, near Aizawl collapsed,” Zoramthanga, who uses only one name, said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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Senior local police officer Rex Zarzoliana Vanchhawng told AFP that rescuers had “retrieved 18 bodies”.

Cause of accident

Northeast Frontier Railway spokesman Sabyasachi De said that “around 30 to 40 labourers” had been at the site when the bridge collapsed.

“Rescue operations are continuing,” De told AFP.

The Indian Express newspaper quoted a policeman as saying that “many” people were missing.

A committee has been set up to investigate the cause of the accident.

“Rescue operations are underway and all possible assistance is being given to those affected,” the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

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Modi was “pained” by the accident and offered his “condolences to those who have lost their loved ones”, his office said on X.

The government will pay around $2,400 to the next of kin of those killed, it said.

Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said he was “grieved by the unfortunate incident” and announced a separate compensation for those killed or injured in the accident.

Mizoram is in the far east of India, bordering Myanmar.

People had “come out in large numbers to help with rescue”, Zoramthanga said, adding he was “deeply saddened and affected by this tragedy”.

Accidents in India

Accidents on large infrastructure construction sites are common in India.

At least 20 workers were crushed to death in western India this month when a crane collapsed above an under-construction expressway outside the financial capital Mumbai.

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In October last year, 130 people were killed in Gujarat when a bridge collapsed soon after it was repaired.

And in 2016, the collapse of a flyover onto a busy street in Kolkata killed at least 26 people.

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