Taiwan bridge collapse crushes fishing boats

Divers search for those feared trapped in vessels

Rescue teams  at a collapsed bridge in Nanfangao harbour in northeastern Taiwan. Photograph: SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images

Rescue teams at a collapsed bridge in Nanfangao harbour in northeastern Taiwan. Photograph: SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images

 

A harbour bridge collapsed in northeastern Taiwan on Tuesday, crushing several fishing boats with some crew feared trapped.

At least nine people fell in the water, and seven were rescued, Taiwan’s Central News Agency said. Six people were seriously injured, it reported.

Divers were searching for those feared trapped in a couple of fishing boats, two government officials from the port township of Suao told Reuters.

“The bridge collapsed at around 9:30am while an oil tanker vehicle was on it, setting the vehicle on fire,” said Shih I-chun, the secretary of the town’s mayor. “We feared that some fishermen might be trapped in the boats.”

Authorities have set up an emergency centre and the military said marines and the navy were helping with the rescue efforts.

“Saving life is priority,” Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said in a Facebook post. “I will ask related authorities to make all effort for the rescue.”

The collapse of the bridge, which carries traffic over the busy fishing port, damaged three fishing boats and two vehicles, including the tanker, the officials said, though the reason for the collapse in clear weather was not immediately clear.

Late on Monday, typhoon Mitag, packing maximum winds of 162kph (100mph), swept past northeastern Taiwan, injuring 12 people and cutting power to more than 66,000 homes, with more than 150 flights cancelled. – Reuters