News World Four dead, two missing after Taiwan bridge collapse

Four dead, two missing after Taiwan bridge collapse

Rescuers conduct a retrieval operation at the scene of the collapsed Nanfangao Bridge in north-eastern Taiwan. Photo: EPA/AAP
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Emergency workers have found four bodies, while two people remain missing after Tuesday’s bridge collapse in north-eastern Taiwan.

Taiwan’s National Fire Agency said on Wednesday said three fishing boats were hit by an oil tanker truck that fell off the bridge.

The agency said two of the victims were Indonesian and another was Filipino. The fourth body has not been identified.

Taiwan’s military deployed a floatable bridge as the search continued.

The 140-metre-long arched bridge collapsed  into a bay in eastern Taiwan.

Ten people were taken to hospitals with injuries, including the truck driver.

The collapse occurred hours after a typhoon swept by Taiwan, but it wasn’t clear if the storm triggered the collapse.

Many Filipinos and Indonesians work on fishing boats registered in Taiwan.

The bridge collapsed about 9.30am (local time) in Nanfangao, a tiny but busy Pacific coast fishing village.

The oil tanker, seconds away from safely crossing, fell to the ground and caught fire, according to Focus Taiwan, a local news channel.

The weather at the time of the collapse was sunny, hours after a typhoon swept across parts of the island.

Disaster relief officials would not say if the storm had weakened the bridge or give other details on the potential cause.

The government-run Central News Agency said a bridge pier may have collapsed.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said she hoped all government departments would do everything possible to save people and “keep the number of deaths and injuries as low as possible,” CNA reported.

National Fire Agency spokesperson Su Hong-wei said the tanker’s fall smashed three boats.

The 140-metre-long Nanfangao Bridge is a tourist attraction in Yilan.

It was opened in 1998 and was built to replace a lower bridge that prevented large fishing vessels from passing underneath.

According to the company that designed the 18-metre-high bridge, MAA Consultants, it’s the only single-span arch bridge in Taiwan supported by cables and the second single arch-cable steel bridge in the world.

-with AAP