Taiwan bridge collapse crushes fishing boats, some feared trapped

The bridge, along with an oil tanker, fell onto boats below, triggering a fire and injuring at least 10 people.

    Rescuers work near the site of a collapsed bridge in Nanfangao, eastern Taiwan [Taiwan Coast Guard via AP Photo]
    Rescuers work near the site of a collapsed bridge in Nanfangao, eastern Taiwan [Taiwan Coast Guard via AP Photo]

    A bridge has collapsed into a harbour in northeastern Taiwan, sending an oil tanker falling onto three fishing boats below and leaving some crew feared trapped, authorities said. 

    A disaster relief official said at least 10 people had been hurt in the incident in Nanfangao on Tuesday.

    Several were taken to hospital, while divers plunged into the waters to search for those feared trapped in the boats, two government officials from the port township of Suao told Reuters.

    "The bridge collapsed at around 9:30am (01:30 GMT) while an oil tanker vehicle was on it, setting the vehicle on fire," said Shih I-chun, the secretary to the town's mayor. "We feared that some fishermen might be trapped in the boats."

    Authorities have pressed soldiers into the rescue effort and set up an emergency centre to run the operation.

    The bridge carries traffic over the busy fishing port. The reason for its collapse in clear weather was not immediately clear.

    Late on Monday, typhoon Mitag, packing maximum winds of 162 km/h (100 mph), swept past northeastern Taiwan, injuring 12 people and cutting power to more than 66,000 homes. More than 150 flights were cancelled.

    SOURCE: News agencies