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Four dead after Philippine bridge collapses under heavy traffic

The Associated Press
Four dead after Philippine bridge collapses under heavy traffic

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — An old, quake-damaged bridge collapsed under heavy vehicular traffic in a central Philippine town, killing at least four people who were trapped in about a dozen vehicles that plummeted into the river, officials said Thursday.

An Austrian visitor was among the dead, and at least 23 others including his wife were injured in the collapse of the bridge Wednesday afternoon in the coastal town of Loay in Bohol province, police and provincial officials said.

Regional police chief Brig. Gen. Roque Eduardo Vega said an initial investigation showed the bridge gave in under the weight of several vehicles stuck in a traffic jam on it, including a delivery truck loaded with sand and gravel to be used in the ongoing construction of a nearby bridge.

“The weight of the truck and its cargo caused serious tension to the bridge that caused its collapse,” Vega told reporters.

Although the bridge that collapsed had previously been damaged by an earthquake, authorities have allowed its use while another bridge was being constructed, police said.

Vega identified the Austrian national who died in the accident as Michael Osuchan, a 30-year-old staying on Bohol’s Panglao island, which is famous for its picturesque beach resorts. The other victims were mostly residents of Loay and nearby towns.

Out of about a dozen vehicles that plummeted into the river, one car and two motorcycles, including 10 vehicular plates, have been retrieved by coast guard, firefighters and volunteer divers, police said.

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