West News Wire: Officials reported Thursday that an ancient, earthquake-damaged bridge in a central Philippine town collapsed amid heavy traffic, sending around a dozen vehicles plunging into the river below and killing at least four people.
The bridge collapsed Wednesday afternoon in the coastal town of Loay in Bohol province, killing an Austrian visitor and injuring at least 23 others, including his wife, police and provincial officials said.
The bridge fell way under the weight of vehicles stopped in a traffic bottleneck, including a truck loaded with sand and stones to be used in the construction of a nearby bridge, according to regional police commander Brig. Gen. Roque Eduardo Vega.
“The weight of the truck and its cargo caused serious tension to the bridge that caused its collapse,” Vega told reporters.
The bridge that collapsed had been damaged by a 2013 earthquake that devastated Bohol, but authorities allowed its temporary use while another bridge was being constructed, police said.
Vega identified the Austrian national who died as Michael Osuchan, 30, who was staying on Bohol’s Panglao island, which is famous for its picturesque beach resorts. The other victims were mostly residents of Loay and nearby towns.
Out of about a dozen vehicles that plummeted into the river, one car and two motorcycles have been retrieved by the coast guard, firefighters and volunteer divers, police said.