Hanoi, Sep 26: At least 27 workers were killed and about 100 others feared dead or missing after a bridge they were building in Vietnam's southern city of Can Tho collapsed today, state-run media and police said.
''At the time of the accident there were about 100 workers directly under the section of the bridge where the scaffolding collapsed and another 150 on the surface of the bridge,'' a Can Tho police officer said by telephone.
''The figures of victims are still being updated but as many as 100 could be dead or missing for now,'' he said.
The online VnExpress (www.vnexpress.net) newspaper quoted officials in Can Tho as saying scaffolding at some sections of the bridge over the Hau river collapsed at about 0700 hrs IST at the start of a shift.
''We heard a loud explosion and then a big cloud of dust and screams from workers stuck in the rubble,'' the state-run online newspaper quoted a bridge engineer at the site as saying.
Officials in Can Tho said about 250 engineers and workers from three Japanese contractors -- Taisei, Kazima and NipponSteel -- were on the construction site at the time of the accident.
State-run Vietnam TV showed footage of the damage to the collapsed concrete and steel structure and reported that people were still believed to be trapped in the rubble.
''We are seeking blood donations from students and army volunteers to save victims,'' deputy transport minister Ngo Thinh Duc told Vietnam TV.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported 27 people dead at three hospitals in Can Tho. At least 150 were being treated for injuries, it said.
It was unclear whether any Japanese nationals were among the victims.
Hau river is one of the nine tributaries of the Mekong river when it enters southern Vietnam from Cambodia.