Maharashtra bridge collapse: Death toll rises to 20

The state government announced Rs 10 lakh for families of each victim and a like amount or a job in MSRTC for family members of the corporation's staff like drivers and bus conductors and others travelling on the two buses.

Seven more bodies were on Friday spotted in the Savitri River even as incessant rains hampered the search operations launched after two buses and some private vehicles were swept away following collapse of a British-era bridge near Mahad in Raigad district.

More than 100 emergency workers in boats, helicopters and on foot scoured the site, looking for survivors and the vehicles.

Bodies were flown away with water current up to 120 kilometres from the spot of bridge collapse. Raigad district Additional SP Sanjay Patil also confirmed that 14 bodies have been found so far.

Govt orders judicial probe in bridge collapse; 5 bodies found
Almost 40 hours after the launch of massive multi-agency operations, searchers have managed to recover five bodies, police said. He said local divers and rafters also joined the massive operation which was called off (after 14 hours) for the night.

NDRF and Navy have also continued their search.

"It is raining heavily and the river is fast flowing, so it is nearly impossible to venture into the water and track where the vehicles are", Satpute said by phone from the site.

Search and rescue teams from the local police, fire brigade and other emergency services, including the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), have been working round the clock since then to trace the missing people. He said the government has made a decision to give Rs 5 lakh to kin of the deceased in the tragedy.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, his ministers and Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil airdashed to the tragedy site on Wednesday and met Collector Sheetal Ugale and Superintendent of Police Suvez Haque. The British era bridge had been given clearance after a pre-monsoon safety audit. The river, which turned torrent due to heavy downpour in its catchment area in Mahabaleshwar, weakened the foundations of the nearly-century-old bridge, which ultimately gave way on Tuesday night.

  • Delia Davidson