Bridge, Scaffolding Fall on Autobahn
A newly built section of a bridge on Germany’s Autobahn system collapsed Wednesday (June 15), leaving one worker dead and seriously injuring six others.
Authorities are investigating what led the 131-foot section of bridge on the A7 highway construction project to drop, bringing down the work site’s scaffolding as it fell.
It wasn’t immediately clear what led to the collapse, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
‘A Real Field of Rubble’
Construction of the new $16.71 million 774-foot span in northern Bavaria began in 2015 with a completion date scheduled for 2017. The bridge is being built parallel to the 50-year-old bridge it will replace and which drivers continue to use until the new structure opens.
According to German news site The Local, the entire section of the bridge, on which concrete had just been laid, collapsed at around 4 p.m.
A crew of 20 was said to be on site Wednesday when the bridge and scaffolding fell about 65 feet onto workers, police spokesman Bjorn Schmitt told the BBC.
Initial reports indicated two fatalities and six severe injuries, with several other workers reportedly suffered only minor injuries in the accident.
At the time, police were working to determine whether any workers remained trapped under the rubble. Moreover, officials were uncertain whether any traffic had been travelling beneath the structure at the time of the collapse.
More than 100 rescue workers were on site that evening with five rescue helicopters, dog units and cranes in use to move debris, sources said.
“I’ve never seen such a thing, a real field of rubble like when a building has been blown up by a bomb,” said Gerhard Eck of the Bavarian interior ministry.
A spokesperson for the interior ministry later confirmed that one man lost his life and a total of 15 people were injured, six of them seriously. All of the missing had been accounted for as well.
“I want to express my deepest sympathies to the relatives of those affected,” said Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann.
“If it turns out that human or technical error was to blame then we must look into the finest details of the case,” Herrmann added.
The investigation continues.