India railway bridge collapse claims 17 lives

India railway bridge collapse claims 17 lives

In north-eastern India, a railway bridge under construction collapsed, killing at least 17 people and leaving more people missing, according to officials.

According to Mizoram’s chief minister, the incident took place close to Sairang, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Aizawl, the state capital.

Up to 40 workers were at the site when the bridge collapsed, according to local media reports.

“Rescue workers have been able to recover 13 bodies so far. Efforts are on to recover the remaining bodies,” said a state police official who declined to be identified.

The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) said in a statement on the messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that the mishap occurred during work on the Bhairbi-Sairang New Line Railway Project.

The NFR said on its website the project will connect Mizoram to the rest of the country; it will also boost “tourism and socio-economic development”.

The cause of the bridge’s collapse is not yet clear.

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The chief minister of Mizoram, Zoramthanga, who goes by one name, reported that numerous locals had assisted in the rescue attempts and that 17 bodies have so far been found.

“All possible assistance is being given to those affected,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office in a statement.

The government will pay some 200,000 rupees (£1,900; $2,400) to the next of kin of those killed, it added.

The state-run railway authority has opened an investigation into the incident.

Accidents on these kinds of construction sites are not uncommon in India.

In October last year, more than 140 people were killed in Gujarat. That was when a pedestrian suspension bridge collapsed in India’s western state of Gujarat.

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