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colombia bridge collapse


A highway bridge under construction in Colombia has collapsed, killing at least 9 workers and injuring 5 others.

The bridge in Chirajara was to be part of a highway connecting Bogotá with the city of Villavicencio.

Images from the scene show a large part of the 450m-long bridge lying in the ravine below.

Colombia’s Transport Minister Germán Cardona spoke of a “tragedy” and said the cause of the collapse would be investigated.

One of the workers injured in the collapse described the moment it happened.

Luis Alvarado told El Tiempo newspaper: “Everyone started shouting that the bridge was falling, I didn’t have time to do anything and then I felt a blow to my head.”

Image source AFP

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Construction officials said that fortunately not many workers were on the bridge at the time of the collapse as staff were receiving a safety briefing.

The bridge is part of an ambitious program to improve the route leading from the capital to the eastern plains by turning parts of it into a dual carriageway.

The planned works include the construction of 18 new tunnels and 42 bridges and viaducts as well as new lighting and CCTV cameras.

The existing – winding and narrow – road faces frequent closures with trucks supplying the capital with produce often breaking down, blocking traffic.

The company tasked with the works is Coviandes, which is majority-owned by a Colombian investment corporation.

On January 15, Coviandes issued a statement saying it would do everything it could to help the families of the workers who died or were injured in the collapse.