Search operations resumed on Friday morning for at least two persons feared to have drowned in a river in Goa where an ageing bridge had collapsed under the weight of scores of onlookers watching a man trying to commit suicide.
Two persons had drowned while around 20 swam to safety after the bridge, connecting Sanvordem and Curchorem villages in South Goa district, collapsed on Thursday afternoon.
14 people were rescued and taken to nearby hospitals.
“The rescue operation began at 7.30 am today and efforts are on to check whether there are any more bodies in the water,” Superintendent of Police (South) Shekhar Prabhudesai said.
“The search operation was called off around midnight yesterday (Thursday) due to poor visibility. The divers from Indian Navy and a private agency which mans Goa’s beaches, have been pressed into service to search for the bodies,” the SP said.
A spokesman of the Indian Navy said on Friday that the collapsed part of the bridge was removed on Thursday night.
“Diving was stopped at around 3.30 am on the request of the collector. The diving operation has resumed this morning,” he said.
He said since crocodiles are known to be present in the river water, precautions are being taken for the safety of the divers.
“As per local inputs, there may be two more persons missing. A helicopter sortie is being undertaken along the river for aerial search,” he said.
The state police confirmed that 14 people were rescued from the water and admitted to different hospitals.
The dilapidated Portuguese-era bridge, across the river Sanvordem, a tributary of river Zuari, was closed for traffic for the last four years.
While fire and emergency services personnel were busy rescuing the suicidal youth, some 50 people were watching their efforts from the bridge when it gave way and they fell into the water.
IMAGE: Rescue and relief works in progress after the Sanvardem Bridge collapsed in Curchorem, South Goa on Thursday. Photograph: PTI Photo