Two buses with 22 persons aboard missing after bridge collapse in Maharashtra
At least two buses and several other vehicles went missing near Mahad city after a bridge on the Savitri River collapsed early Wednesday due to torrential rains in the Konkan region.
The bridge, more than seven decades old and a critical link to the Mumbai-Goa national highway, crashed around 1 a.m. due to the flood waters rushing into the river.
Two state transport buses with 11 passengers each were missing and there was no contact with either their drivers or the passengers, Raigad Collector Sheetal Ugale said.
Since the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation buses — which started from Mumbai — did not arrive at their scheduled Mahad depot, Ugale appealed people to get in touch with the concerned authorities about their missing relatives.
Locals said that around five to six private vehicles were also missing and they were feared to be washed away in the floods.
A search operation have been initiated, Ugale said.
"The bridge was built during the British era. After discussion with the National Highways Authority, we have shifted traffic to the new parallel bridge nearby. We are trying to confirm reports of other missing vehicles," Ugale said.
Rehabilitation Minister Chandrakant Patil said helicopters would be deployed and the help of defence forces was taken to search the missing vehicles.
Meanwhile, a 45-member National Disaster Response Force team reached Raigad from Pune to assist in the rescue operations.
Incessant rains continue to lash the coastal Konkan, northern and western Maharashtra since past five days.