Thursday, March 31, 2016

Collapse Of Kolkata Overpass Kills/Injures Dozens

At least 21 people have been killed and some 150 are feared trapped after a flyover collapsed onto moving traffic in the Indian city of Kolkata.  Dozens of pedestrians and drivers may be crushed underneath the under-construction overpass, which came down during rush hour in a teeming commercial district near Girish Park.

Firefighters and residents rushed to rescue victims from the wreckage with their bare hands. Bloodied bodies were seen trapped under concrete slabs, while hands and legs were sticking out from under twisted debris. But ambulances were struggling to reach the scene amid the traffic.

The accident comes just days before Kolkata is due to host the T20 Cricket World Cup.   It is the latest in a string of deadly construction collapses in India, some of which have highlighted shoddy building standards.   The concrete for this bridge was laid on Wednesday night - 12 hours before it collapsed. 

Many locals said they were fleeing their houses for fear that more of the damaged structure could collapse. 'We heard a massive bang sound and our house shook violently. We thought it was an earthquake,' 45-year-old resident Sunita Agarwal told reporters.  'We're leaving - who knows what will happen next.'

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who rushed to the scene, said those responsible for the crash will not be spared - though she too will face questioning about what went wrong. 

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