22 people missing after British Era bridge collapses
Twenty-two people — 18 passengers, two drivers and two conductors, are feared killed as the two State transport buses in which they were travelling were washed away when a bridge linking Mahad and Poladpur on the Mumbai-Goa highway in Raigad district in Konkan collapsed in heavy rain in the early hours of Wednesday. Four private cars are also believed to have fallen.
Choppers and search team deployed for rescue operations
A crowd of local people holding umbrellas watched as a chopper sent by the Coast Guard hovered over the raging river, a rescuer dangling from it. Along with the two Sea King aircraft also searching for debris, there have been at least four sorties since morning.
Eight Navy divers rushed towards the collapsed bridge, which was built in the 1940. Large chunks of the bridge have fallen into the river.Navy teams on inflatable dinghies negotiated strong currents to get to the bridge.
Around 80 rescuers and divers are at the spot, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) says. This will increase to almost 200 personnel in a few hours.
“The primary reason seems to be the high pressure caused due to flooding of the Savitri river due to heavy rain in the catchment of Mahabaleshwar,” Maharashtra CM Fadnavis said.