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Monday, 25 November 2019 00:00cat

Bridge collapses in Toulouse, France: 2 fatalities

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Bridge collapses in Toulouse, France Bridge collapses in Toulouse, France TheGuardian

A suspension bridge located about 29 kilometers north of Toulouse, France, suddenly collapsed, resulting in two fatalities and several injuries.

The structure was located above the Tarn River close to the Mirepoix-sur-Tarn village. The midsection of the bridge measuring a length of 155 meters gave way on November 18, 2019, and two vehicles, a car and a truck, fell into the water. The collapse was caused by the bridge's suspension cables which failed after their tensile strength was exceeded.

Rescue crews including divers and helicopters rushed at the scene in search of the missing people. Unfortunately, the driver of the truck and a 15-year-old girl lost their lives while additional people were injured. The girl was traveling with her mother who managed to be rescued. During the operation, 2 firefighters were also severely injured.

The facility was constructed back in 1931 and was renovated in 2003. Authorities state that it was regularly checked and the last inspection, conducted in 2017, showed no structural defects. An investigation on the causes of the failure is currently underway.

According to Éric Oget, the mayor of Mirepoix-sur-Tarn village, the bridge was a significant route for people that were traveling to Toulouse. The major added that maybe the load capacity restrictions had been neglected by the truck drivers. "From time to time I have actually seen very heavy vehicles using the bridge. We have always been vigilant in carrying out checks with the municipal police, to stop them when we see it, but there are times when we do not see them," he stated. The structure had a 19-ton load capacity.

Recent updates show that the truck that fell into the water may exceeded the weight capacity of the structure resulting in its collapse ."The fact that this heavy vehicle took the bridge... currently seems to be the immediate and apparent cause of the accident, "prosecutor Dominique Alzeari, said at a conference.

According to France's senate, about 25,000 bridges in the country need to be repaired as soon as possible.

Sources: BBC TheGuardian CNN






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