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Several more are feared trapped after under-construction bridge collapses in the northeastern state, officials say.
A railway bridge being built across a ravine in India’s northeastern Mizoram state has collapsed, killing at least 17 labourers working on the project, officials said, with many others reported missing.
Video footage posted by Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Wednesday 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 today; at least 17 workers died,” Zoramthanga, who uses only one name, said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Sairang is a town about 20km (12 miles) from Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram which lies in the far east of India, bordering Myanmar.
VIDEO | At least 17 workers were killed and several others feared trapped after an under-construction railway bridge collapsed near Sairang area of Mizoram, earlier today.
(Source: Third Party) pic.twitter.com/woapGC2yaD
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) August 23, 2023
Local media reported that 35-40 workers were at the site when the incident occurred.
The Indian Express newspaper quoted a policeman as saying that 17 bodies had been recovered and “many others” were missing. The reports of missing people could not immediately be verified.
“Rescue operations are underway and all possible assistance is being given to those affected,” the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
It said Modi was “pained” by the accident and offered his “condolences to those who have lost their loved ones”.
The government will pay about 200,000 Indian rupees ($2,400) to the next of kin of those killed, it said.
People had “come out in large numbers to help with rescue”, Zoramthanga said, adding he was “deeply saddened and affected by this tragedy”.
Bridge collapses and other deadly accidents on large infrastructure construction sites are common in India.
In October last year, a colonial-era suspension bridge collapsed in Morbi in the western state of Gujarat, killing 135.
In June, a suspension bridge being built in the country’s poorest state of Bihar collapsed, killing one person.