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Five Bodies Found, One Still Missing after Taiwan Bridge Collapse

Taiwan's National Fire Agency said the deceased were fishing workers from Indonesia and the Philippines whose bodies were found in waters near two damaged boats late on Tuesday and earlier on Wednesday.

AFP

Updated:October 2, 2019, 4:24 PM IST
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Five Bodies Found, One Still Missing after Taiwan Bridge Collapse
A view of debris and the collapsed Nanfang'ao Bridge is seen after a typhoon hit Su'ao in Yilan county, Taiwan

Taipei: Five bodies have been recovered from under a collapsed bridge in Taiwan, rescuers said on Wednesday, as the search continued for the last person missing after the structure smashed onto fishing boats moored underneath.

Taiwan's National Fire Agency said the deceased were fishing workers from Indonesia and the Philippines whose bodies were found in waters near two damaged boats late on Tuesday and earlier on Wednesday.

"The search and rescue mission continues," said transport minister Lin Chia-lung, adding that evidence was being collected for an investigation.

The Philippines labour ministry confirmed that two of its nationals were killed while one remained missing and five others were injured in the incident. The ministry pledged assistance to the affected workers and their families.

Dramatic CCTV footage captured the moment the 140-metre (460-foot) long single-arch bridge came crashing down early on Tuesday morning in Nanfangao, on Taiwan's east coast.

In the video, a vertical cable at the centre of the bridge's steel arch suddenly snaps. The road then collapses into the water, crashing down on three fishing boats as a petrol tanker, which nearly made it across, also plunged into the water.

Twelve people were injured, including six Filipino and three Indonesian fishing workers, the Taiwanese driver of the petrol tanker, and two coastguard personnel.

The petrol tanker burst into flames at some point after it hit the water, sending a thick plume of black smoke into the air.

The local landmark was completed in 1998 and spanned a small fishing port. It was featured in a number of TV dramas and commercials.

Taiwan was skirted by a typhoon on Monday night, which brought heavy rains and strong winds to parts of the east coast.

But at the time of the bridge collapse, the weather was fine.

Taiwan has a huge fishing industry and many of those who work on its boats are low-paid migrant workers from countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Previous serious bridge incidents in Taiwan have mostly been related to typhoons.

In 2009, two bridges were badly damaged by Typhoon Morakot, which left more than 400 people dead.

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