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22 feared dead as buses plunge into river in bridge collapse

At least 22 people are missing and feared dead after two buses plunged into a flooded river in western India when an old bridge collapsed, an official has said.

Rescuers had failed to find the vehicles or any survivors hours after the single-lane bridge on the Mumbai-Goa highway collapsed at about midnight on Tuesday, said Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra state's chief minister.

The two Maharashtra state-run buses were carrying a total of 18 passengers, two drivers and two conductors, according to Mr Fadnavis.

He said the bridge, constructed in the 1940s, probably collapsed because it was buffeted by strong currents from the Savitri River, which was flooded by monsoon rains.

OP Singh, chief of the National Disaster Response Force, said 80 rescuers, including divers, rushed to the area, but their efforts were being hampered by heavy rains.

A helicopter hovered over the area trying to spot the buses or any bodies floating in the swollen river.

Various parts of India have been lashed by heavy downpours lately. The monsoon season runs from June to September.



From Belfast Telegraph