Mumbai, Aug 3: At least two persons drowned and 20 others are missing as two buses swept away in swollen Savitri River after a British-era bridge collapsed on the Mumbai-Goa Highway near Mahad in Maharashtra's Raigad district late on Tuesday night.
"Two buses are missing and a few other vehicles are feared to have been swept away," Raigad District collector Sheetal Ugale said today.
Traffic movement on Mumbai-Goa hit badly after the incident which was later diverted to another bridge.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) which have been pressed into rescue operation facing difficulty due to heavy rains in the area.
"Darkness had hampered operations, which resumed this morning,"Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis said.
Any survivor or vehicle is yet to be found.
"The primary reason seems to be the high pressure caused due to flooding of river Savitri due to heavy rains in catchment of Mahabaleshwar," tweeted Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis soon after the incident.
Meanwhile, latest reports say that the Coast Guard has deployed a Chetak helicopter to carry out search for people who were swept away from the bridge. NDRF teams have also been deployed to carry out search and rescue operation at the site of accident.
NDRF team carrying out search & rescue ops at the site of bridge collapse on Mumbai-Goa highway pic.twitter.com/nb1dNhtZgO— ANI (@ANI_news) August 3, 2016
Visuals of Indian Navy aircraft carrying out search operations at the site of bridge collapse in Raigad(Maharashtra) pic.twitter.com/RohUzoDwru— ANI (@ANI_news) August 3, 2016
Spoke to Raigad SP & Collector about bridge collapse on Mumbai-Goa highway.— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) August 2, 2016
Administration has rushed to spot for rescue&immediate measures.
There were 2 parallel bridges : one is a new bridge and one constructed during the British era.— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) August 2, 2016
The old one got collapsed.
The primary reason seems to be the high pressure caused due to flooding of river Savitri due to heavy rains in catchment of Mahabaleshwar.— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) August 2, 2016
There is no confirmed assessment about casualties since the area is very dark.— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) August 2, 2016
Administration will ensure speedy rescue & relief operations.
Raigad Collector confirms that one way traffic is now resumed on the new bridge.— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) August 2, 2016
Mumbai-Goa highway bridge collapse: 2 buses with 22 people onboard, missing, says Raigad ASP Sanjay Patil.— ANI (@ANI_news) August 3, 2016
Mumbai-Goa highway bridge collapse UPDATE: ICG launches Chetak Helicopter to carry out search operations for missing vehicles.— ANI (@ANI_news) August 3, 2016
Opposition demands judicial probe
The Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly has sought a judicial probe into the Mahad tragedy. Raising the issue in the State Assembly, former CM Prithviraj Chavan said a judicial probe should be conducted and action taken against those guilty of allowing the old bridge to remain open for traffic.
"The life of the bridge, built by the British, had ended after completion of 100 years. Despite this, an officer certified in May that the bridge was good for traffic. A case against 302 IPC should be filed against that officer," former Deputy CM Ajit Pawar said.
(With inputs from PTI)