Taiwan bridge collapse crushes fishing boats, some crew feared trapped

The collapse of the bridge, which carries traffic over the busy fishing port, damaged three fishing boats and two vehicles. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
The collapse of the bridge, which carries traffic over the busy fishing port, damaged three fishing boats and two vehicles. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
The collapse of the bridge, which carries traffic over the busy fishing port, damaged three fishing boats and two vehicles. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
The collapse of the bridge, which carries traffic over the busy fishing port, damaged three fishing boats and two vehicles. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TAIPEI (REUTERS, AFP) - Rescuers were scrambling on Tuesday (Oct 1) to reach six people feared trapped after a bridge collapsed in Taiwan, smashing onto a group of fishing boats moored underneath.

Dramatic CCTV images captured the moment the 140-metre long single-arch bridge came crashing down in Nanfangao, on Taiwan's east coast.

In the images, the road gives way and tumbles down onto at least three fishing boats as a petrol tanker that was crossing also plunges into the water.

The National Fire Agency said it believed six people were unaccounted for and could be trapped in the boats underneath the collapsed structure.

"The rescue operation is ongoing," the agency said in a statement, adding at least 12 people were injured, including six Philippine and three Indonesian fishing workers as well as the Taiwanese driver of the petrol tanker.

"We hope to safely rescue all in the shortest time to minimise the damage," Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters.

Divers were searching for those feared trapped in a couple of fishing boats, two government officials from the port township of Suao told Reuters earlier in the day.

"The bridge collapsed at around 9.30am while an oil tanker vehicle was on it, setting the vehicle on fire," said Shih I-chun, the secretary of the town's mayor.

"We feared that some fishermen might be trapped in the boats."

The authorities have set up an emergency centre and the military said marines and the navy were helping with the rescue efforts.

It is not clear what caused the bridge, which was built in 1998 and spanned a small fishing port, to collapse.

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