Nine killed, one missing in Indonesia bridge collapse

BENGKULU (AFP) - Nine people drowned and another was missing after a bridge collapsed on Indonesia's Sumatra island, the disaster agency said on Monday (Jan 20).

Some 30 people, mostly students, were on the bridge on Sunday afternoon in the town of Kaur when the newly built crossing suddenly collapsed, hurtling some teens into the water below while others clutched on to the railing.

The water level of the river below the bridge was higher than usual, with strong currents after torrential downpours pounded the Bengkulu region at the southern end of Sumatra.

"Some managed to save themselves but 10 others could not fight against the current and drowned, they were swept away" Mr Ujang Syafiri, head of the disaster mitigation agency, told AFP, adding that the bridge may have collapsed due to excessive weight.

A search and rescue team scoured a 20km radius to find a teenager who is still missing, he said.

Another victim was rescued after falling into the river but is seriously injured and has been taken to hospital.

Parts of the South-east Asian archipelago have been deluged with torrential downpours as the rainy season kicks into high gear.

In and around the capital Jakarta, some 67 people were killed this month as record rains triggered flooding and landslides around the capital region.

Lax construction standards have raised widespread concerns about building and construction safety in Indonesia.

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