4 dead, 2 missing as bridge collapses in Taiwan after passage of Typhoon “Mitag”

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Nanfangao bridge collapsed in the north-east town of Yilan, Taiwan on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, sending an oil tanker trunk plummeting onto fishing boats. At least four bodies were recovered while two are yet to be found.

The towering 140 m (459 feet) arch bridge collapsed around 09:30 LT while an oil tanker vehicle was on it, said town Mayor Shih I-Chun. The horrifying collapse was captured on a video.

The incident happened during sunny weather. Prior to that, Typhoon "Mitag" recently dumped heavy rain on the island. The storm passed east of the country on Monday, September 30, 2019, and early October 1. Wind gusts up to 137 km/h (85 mph) had an impact on the island, but officials have yet to confirm if the storm caused the bridge to weaken down.

10 people have been sent to the hospital, six of them suffering from life-threatening injuries.

According to Taiwan's Central News Agency, at least nine people fell in the water and seven were rescued.

More than 60 military personnel including marines and naval officers were deployed for search and rescue operations. An air force helicopter and several fishing vessels were also sent for assistance.

Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang assured that saving lives is the priority. "I will ask related authorities to make all effort for the rescue."

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen also said that she's hoping all Government departments would do everything possible to save the victims. Transport minister Lin Chia-lung affirmed as well that the search and rescue mission is ongoing.

Su Hong-wei, National Fire Agency spokesperson, said the tanker's fall crushed three boats, injuring six Filipinos, three Indonesians, and one victim whose nationality is still unidentified.

The tanker was also set on fire, but it did not spread further.

MAA Consultants, the company behind the bridge's design, said it is the only single-span arch bridge supported by cables in Taiwan, and the second single arch-cable steel bridge in the world.

Nanfangao Bridge was opened in 1998 and was a tourist spot in Yilan.

Bridge incidents have mostly been related to typhoons in Taiwan. In 2009, two bridges were severely affected by Typhoon "Morakot," causing 400 deaths.

Featured image credit: Jarvis Lung/Youtube

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