May 18, 2022

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Traffic congestion causes Philippine bridge collapse, killing 4

Traffic congestion causes Philippine bridge collapse, killing 4

Philippine officials say an old bridge damaged by the quake has collapsed due to heavy traffic in a central town.

MANILA, Philippines – An old bridge damaged by an earthquake has collapsed under heavy traffic in a central Philippine town, causing about a dozen vehicles to plunge into the river below and killing at least four people, officials said Thursday.

An Austrian visitor was among the dead, police and regional officials said, and at least 23 others, including his wife, were injured in the bridge collapse Wednesday afternoon in the coastal town of Loay in Bohol province.

The regional police chief, Brig. General Roque Eduardo Vega said an initial investigation showed the bridge sagged under the weight of vehicles stuck in a traffic jam on it, including a truck loaded with sand and gravel for use in building a nearby bridge.

“The truck’s weight and load caused serious stress on the bridge, which led to its collapse,” Vega told reporters.

Police said the bridge that collapsed was damaged in the 2013 earthquake that devastated the city of Bohol, but that authorities allowed it to be used temporarily while another bridge was being built.

Vega identified the Austrian national who died as Michael O’Sochan, 30, who was based on the island of Bohol Panglao, famous for its picturesque beach resorts. Most of the other victims were residents of Luay and neighboring towns.

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Police said the Coast Guard, firefighters and volunteer divers recovered one car and two motorcycles from among about a dozen vehicles that fell into the river.