GUWAHATI, INDIA – A construction platform at a railroad bridge being built in northeastern India collapsed Wednesday, killing at least 26 workers and injuring two others, an official said.
The gantry collapsed at a bridge in Sairang, a town on the outskirts of Aizawal, the capital of Mizoram state, according to the police control room. The bridge has been under construction for nearly two years.
State Transport Minister T.J. Lalnuntluanga, who is at the site, said 18 bodies have been recovered while eight other bodies have been located and are being pulled out of the debris by rescuers.
People living in a village near the construction site rushed to rescue injured workers and took them to hospital, police said. Rescuers from the government-run National Disaster Response Force also hurried to the scene to search for survivors.
Railroad authorities are investigating the cause of the collapse. Earlier, police said there were 40 workers at the site when the platform collapsed.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is attending the BRICS summit in South Africa, said he was pained by the crash in Mizoram state.
“Rescue operations are underway and all possible assistance is being given to those affected,” he tweeted.
India’s transport infrastructure has long been marred by safety concerns, sometimes leading to major disasters on its highways and bridges.
In October last year, a century-old cable suspension bridge collapsed into a river in the western Indian state of Gujarat, sending hundreds plunging into the water and killing at least 132 in one of the worst accidents in the country in the past decade.