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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

India bridge collapse kills at least 18 people with several still missing

New Delhi — At least 18 people died Wednesday after an under-construction railway bridge collapsed in northeastern India‘s Mizoram state, officials said.

The death toll is likely to increase as many more are reported missing. Railway officials said about 40 laborers were on the bridge at the time of its collapse.

The deadly accident happened at Sairang, a town about 12 miles from the state capital, Aizawl. Railway authorities have launched an investigation to find the cause of the collapse.

Picturesposted by Hari Babu Kambhampati, governor of Mizoram, on social media showed part of the unfinished bridge lying across the floor of the Kurung River, between several columns that were still standing.

Chief minister of the state, Zoramthanga, who uses only one name, called the accident “unfortunate.” His government has announced compensation of one million Indian rupees ($12,000) for the next of kin of the dead.

India’s federal government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has announced a separate compensation of $2,400 for the families of the deceased.

“Rescue operations are underway and all possible assistance is being given to those affected,” Modi’s office said.

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The deadly bridge collapse is the latest in a string of accidents in India. Accidents from old and poorly maintained infrastructure, including bridges, are common across the country.

Last year in October, more than 140 people were killed as a pedestrian suspension bridge collapsedin India’s western state of Gujarat.

In 2016, the collapse of an overpass onto a busy street in Kolkata killed at least 26 people.

In 2011, at least 32 people were killed when a packed bridge collapsed in the hill resort of Darjeeling.

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