After the collapse of a road bridge north of Toulouse with at least one dead, the forces search for missing persons. It is unclear how many people fell in the river Tarn.
At least one car and one truck were reported to be on the construction site when it collapsed. Details of a third vehicle, which should have been at the time of the collapse on the bridge, confirmed for the time being, as prosecutor Dominique Alzéari announced. It is conceivable that in addition to the vehicles were pedestrians on the bridge, said the Eric Oger, the mayor of Mirepoix -sur-Tarn.
The 15-year-old, who was killed in the accident, was officially traveling with her mother in the car on the bridge. The mother of the girl had been rescued by witnesses. She was in shock. The collapse occurred in the morning around 8 o'clock. The well 150 meters long and five meters wide suspension bridge connected the places Mirepoix -sur-Tarn and Bessières. It was built in the thirties and renovated in 2003.
"No structural problems"
The cause of the collapse is still unclear. The bridge was "apparently duly supervised" and had "no structural problems at its last detailed inspection," said Dominique Alzeari, prosecutor of Toulouse. According to media reports, a truck was driven over the bridge, which exceeded the permissible weight. The bridge was only released for vehicles up to 19 tons. "We are now looking for the driver of the vice," said the prosecutor.
Pictures show that the suspension bridge has completely collapsed. Only on the banks can still be seen the road that is completely broken off the river. The construction, with which the ropes of the bridge were stretched over the Tarn, is for the most part still intact.
Dozens of emergency services are searching for missing persons. Divers and helicopters were at the scene of the accident. The work of the rescuers is complicated by the cold temperatures in the river. At least five people were injured, including witnesses who helped after the accident.
Video: Bridge collapse at Toulouse
"I was in my bathroom at 8.00 am Monday morning and heard a huge noise," said local resident Philippe Duguet of the newspaper "La Dépêche du Midi". "I live 300 meters from this bridge and it is a route that I often take." Media reported that just before the disaster, a school bus drove across the bridge. Residents also said that often too heavy trucks drove over the bridge.
In 2018, 43 people died in a bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy. The Polcevera Viaduct, also known as Morandi Bridge, collapsed on 14 August during a storm. It is still unclear how it came about. As a result of the accident, bridges were also examined in France. The result: At least 25,000 bridges were then in poor structural condition. (Read more about the state of bridges in Germany here.)