Five workers dead in Andorra bridge collapse

9th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

The workers fell from a height of some 20 metres as a concrete structure of a road bridge collapsed midday Saturday.

Andorra la Vella – Two more workers died overnight after a bridge under construction in the Pyrenees principality of Andorra collapsed, bringing the death toll to five, the government said Sunday.

Six other workers were recovering in hospital after the concrete structure of the road bridge gave way around midday Saturday near the Dos Valires tunnel in the Massana valley in northwest Andorra.

Emergency teams worked throughout the night to rescue a man who was trapped up to the waist in rubble, but he died shortly after being pulled from the debris in the early hours on Sunday, according to a government spokesman.

The body of another missing worker was also recovered late Saturday.

All of the workers were Portuguese nationals, officials in Lisbon said.

The six injured were treated in hospital for head and limb injuries. One was later transferred to Barcelona for specialist treatment.

Some 20 metres (22 yards) of the concrete structure collapsed in the accident that occurred after workers had just finished pouring new concrete at the site.

Portuguese employer Antonion Martins said the metal structure supporting the concrete collapsed and that the workers fell from a height of some 20 metres (65 feet).

"Some managed to latch on to metal beams but most were buried. There was panic," Martins was quoted by Portuguese media as saying.

Police are investigating to determine the causes of the accident at the bridge that was to link the tunnel to a road leading to two nearby villages.

Rescue services said some 60 workers were on site when the accident occurred, but the remainder escaped unharmed.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who holds the title of co-prince of Andorra along with a Spanish bishop, expressed condolences in a statement and pledged "France's support and solidarity during this ordeal".

The head of the Andorran government, Jaume Bartumeu, travelled to the scene and visited injured workers in hospital.

Work on the construction site has been halted until Wednesday, when the government is to decide whether to press on with the bridge project, according to Bartumeu.

Two other Portuguese workers have been killed at the site in April this year and in March 2007, according to Portuguese media.

AFP / Expatica

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