French bridge collapse leaves one dead and several missing

World | Agence France-Presse 19 Nov 2019

A 15-year-old girl was killed after a suspension bridge over a river in southwest France collapsed yesterday, causing a car, a truck and possibly a third vehicle to plunge into the water, local authorities said.

Four people were rescued but several others were feared missing after the collapse of the bridge linking the towns of Mirepoix-sur-Tarn and Bessieres, 30 kilometers north of the city of Toulouse, said fire service and local security chief Etienne Guyot.

TV images showed a car bonnet sticking out of the fast-flowing waters of the Tarn river and emergency service helicopters circling overhead.

The body of the dead girl was pulled from the water, Toulouse prosecutor Dominique Alzeari said at the scene.

Her mother was rescued by onlookers.

Over 60 rescue workers, including divers, and 40 police were taking part in the search for survivors, Guyot said.

He added that there were "probably several missing".

Among those feared missing was the truck driver and the driver of a potential third vehicle, he said, adding that witnesses had reported seeing a van on the bridge.

The bridge which had a load limit of 19 tons, dated to the 1930s, he said, and was "regularly checked".

The mayor of Mirepoix-sur-Tarn Eric Oget described it as a "very important crossing point" for people going to work in Toulouse on the other side of the river.

Many pedestrians, including schoolgoers, also use the bridge, he said, describing the accident as a "real trauma".

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