France: Teenager dies after bridge collapses | News | DW | 18.11.2019
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France: Teenager dies after bridge collapses

At least one person has died and several others had to be rescued from the river Tarn in southern France. More than 70 emergency workers have been deployed to the scene of the incident in Toulouse.

A truck and a car fell into the river Tarn in southern France Monday after a suspension bridge collapsed, emergency workers said. The body of a 15-year-old girl was recovered, prosecutor Dominique Alzeari told reporters. Four others have been rescued from the river.  

The girl's mother was pulled alive from the sunken car by bystanders, some of whom were badly injured in the rescue attempt.

Several other people were feared missing, including the driver of the truck and perhaps the driver of a possible third vehicle involved in the incident.

A car hood could be seen sticking out of the water as helicopters circled overhead and emergency workers in inflatable boats searched for survivors. 

The collapsed metal and concrete bridge — built in 1935 and renovated in 2003 — linked the towns of Mirepoix-sur-Tarn and Bessieres, 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of the city of Toulouse. 

Weight of truck 

A report for the French Senate last year, after 43 people were killed in the collapse of a motorway bridge in Genoa in neighbouring Italy, found that at least 25,000 bridges around France were in poor structural condition. 

But the Mirepoix-sur-Tarn bridge had been regularly inspected and had shown no structural issues, according to the mayor, Eric Oget. He told BFMTV that it had been completely renovated in 2003 and was checked regularly by local authorities.

"It's a catastrophic sight, I don't know what to say, I am dumbstruck," he said.

An investigation was underway to establish the weight of the truck and its cargo to determine if it the bridge's weight restriction of 19 tons had been respected, Malazzini said.

kw/rt (AFP, dpa)

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