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Deadly Overpass Collapse Sparks Riots

Thursday, November 29, 2012

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At least 13 people are dead, scores are injured, and about 20 people remain trapped in the rubble of a highway overpass that collapsed during construction over the weekend in Bangladesh, authorities say.

Rioting erupted after the disaster in Chittagong, the nation’s second-largest city, as hundreds of people took to the streets, reports said.

"So far 13 dead bodies have been recovered," sub-inspector Mohammad Alauddin told Agence France-Presse, adding that military rescue teams had been called in to help search for victims.

Chittagong overpass collapse

Workers comb the rubble where 20 people were believed trapped after the collapse.

More than 50 people were injured, many of them critically, reported.

3 Beams Collapse

Three 42-meter-long concrete girders—part of the structure’s flyover—collapsed “one after another” onto a busy market below, a neighborhood business owner told the news station.

The construction disaster—the second collapse at the same project in five months—stunned and outraged Bangladeshis. Just hours before, more than 120 workers perished in a garment factory blaze near the capital city of Dhaka.

Chittagong overpass collapse

The girder collapse was the second at the site since June, reports said.

Both accidents occurred Saturday night (Nov. 24).

Rioting and Demands

In Chittagong, protesters set fire to vehicles and a police outpost, complaining of a slow response by firefighters. Some also set fire to what CNN described as a “makeshift office” of the construction firm building the overpass.

A dozen protesters were injured when a mosque wall collapsed under the weight of several hundred protesters, according to UPI.

Police used batons and fired several rounds of tear gas to disperse the crowd, many of whom were blocking the rescue and recovery efforts, reports said.

Previous Collapse, ‘Despicable Security’ said the collapse was “due to the negligence of authorities as they failed to beef up security measures after a previous accident at the same under-construction overpass.”

Chittagong overpass collapse

Blood and a sandal mark the scene. The collapse occurred on a market.

The news outlet said one of the girders of the same flyover had collapsed on June 29. That investigation cited “lack of security measures” as the cause of the accident.

“Despite the June 29 accident, no steps were taken against the construction firms and there were no efforts to ensure adequate security measures at the construction site after the accident,” the newspaper said.

Protesters were demanding action against the construction firms, Meer Akter Enterprise and Parisha Enterprise, and the Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) chief, claiming negligence in supervision.

Chittagong overpass collapse

Protesters demanded action against the construction companies and local offiicals.

"The accident occurred due to despicable security measures. How come a market sits under an under-construction flyover?" former President of Chittagong Engineers' Institution Delowar Hossain Majumdar told He said lighting around the nighttime work was inadequate.

"No construction work can take place without adequate security measures and fences," he added.

The government appointed a five-member panel to investigate the collapse and report back within three days.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Concrete; Construction; Fatalities; Health and safety; Roads/Highways

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