Mumbai: Around 22 people are missing and several vehicles are feared to have been swept away in the Savitri river in the Konkan region as a bridge at Mahad on the Mumbai-Goa Highway collapsed late last night. Search and rescue operations are underway, and 4 NDRF teams comprising 115 personnel are at the site.
What we know
Casualties: Two bodies have been found, Raigad district collector Sheetal Ugale said, as quoted in the Indian Express.
Rescue operations: Four NDRF teams are at the site of the collapse to conduct search and rescue operations. “Two helicopters have been pressed into search operations and 4 teams of NDRF are conducting search operations in the area,” said state PWD minister Chandrakant Patil.
Response: The Maharashtra government has said that an inspection of the bridge was conducted in May and it was deemed fit for use. Patil said that the government will investigate what caused the collapse despite its positive assessment in the inspection.
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said in a tweet that the primary reason for the collapse appeared to be the high pressure caused by the flooding of the Savitri river due to the heavy rains in parts of Mahabaleshwar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered help in the rescue and relief operations, Fadnavis said.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh has assured full assistance from the Centre in the rescue efforts.
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and the opposition demanded a judicial probe be conducted. Meanwhile, former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar has said the PWD minister should be charged with murder.
What we don’t know
Casualties: Two buses and several cars were washed away in the collapse. Search and rescue operations are ongoing, and two bodies have been recovered, but the casualty numbers will likely rise.
Cause: Fadnavis has said heavy rains are the likely cause for the bridge collapse. However, the bridge was inspected and deemed fit for use in May, which raises questions about the veracity of the inspection.
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The Indian Express live blog