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16 dead, many trapped in Varanasi flyover collapse

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

VARANASI: At least 16 people have died and several are feared trapped after a portion of an under construction flyover collapsed in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi today. Two pillars of the under construction flyover collapsed in Varanasi's Cantt area, bringing a huge slab of concrete down, crushing cars and a local bus under it.

Many of those trapped are reported to be labourers who were working on the flyover.

Five teams of the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF have been deployed in the rescue operations. Dozens of policemen are also present at the spot.

Eight cranes are being used to try to lift the debris and a crane with a 200 tonne lifting capacity is  being called in. Officials say gas cutters are being used and the first priority is to pull out those trapped. An eyewitness, who was 50 metres from the collapse site, said  help came in after an hour. "Four cars, an auto-rickshaw and a minibus were crushed by it... The help came after an hour," the eyewitness said.

The flyover was being built by the Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation and chief minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered an inquiry report in 48 hours. He has also directed his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya and minister Neelkanth Tiwari to visit the spot. "The chief minister has expressed grief and directed the administration to speed up rescue operation," UP minister Sidharth Nath Singh told ANI.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted to say that he has spoken to officials and asked them to ensure all possible support to those affected. "I spoke to UP CM Yogi Adityanath Ji regarding the situation due to the collapse of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi. The UP Government is monitoring the situation very closely and
is working on the ground to assist the affected," he said.

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