Goa Bridge Collapse: Search Operation Called Off


Panaji: The Goa administration has called off the search and rescue operation that had been launched following the collapse of an ageing footbridge across Sanvordem River.

While the rescue teams had found two bodies on the night of the incident, they had recovered another one last evening, which according to police, was that of the man who had jumped into the river to commit suicide before the bridge caved in Sanvordem village in South Goa.

According to officials, the search operation was called off last evening, around 24 hours after it was launched, as the rescuers feel that the possibility of tracing more bodies was bleak. “The district administration withdrew the search and rescue operation last evening. There seems to be no possibility of finding more bodies there,” Superintendent of Police (South) Shekhar Prabhudesai said today.

The multi-agency operation was being carried out by the state police, Indian Navy, National Disaster Response Force and Drishti Lifesaving Services, a private agency. A senior district administration official said, “The search and rescue operation that continued for 24 hours, was finally called off last evening when the rescuers certified that the possibility of tracing any more bodies is bleak.”

The bridge across Sanvordem river, a tributary of the Zuari in South Goa, collapsed under the weight of scores of onlookers watching the rescue operation of a man, who had jumped into water to commit suicide. Around 50 people had gathered on the Portuguese-era bridge to watch the rescue efforts.

Two persons had drowned, while around 20 swam to safety. Fourteen people were rescued and taken to nearby hospitals. The bridge had been closed for traffic for the last four years. After the incident, the Goa government had announced that all the “dilapidated and unsafe” bridges in the state would be dismantled after a review is undertaken.

“The work of preparing a list of dilapidated bridges across the state and then dismantling them will be taken up seriously,” State Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai had told reporters yesterday. “The government will also carry out a safety audit of bridges and those which are found unsafe and not used by commuters, would be dismantled,” he had said.