Another part of bridge collapses, no injury reported

Another part of bridge collapses, no injury reported

Another section of a bridge in the northern province of Zonguldak that partially collapsed last Friday came down on Monday. (Photo: AA)

April 09, 2012, Monday/ 15:07:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

One of the remaining piers of a collapsed bridge in the northern province of Zonguldak collapsed on Monday as efforts continue to search for 14 people who went missing on Friday after the main body of the bridge collapsed.

A bridge over River Filyos partially collapsed in Zonguldak's Çaycuma district on Friday, causing two vehicles to fall into the river.

While teams work in the vicinity to find those missing, a second collapse caused panic among people at the scene, including several people standing on the bridge. Luckily, nobody was injured. Following the incident, the road was closed and no vehicles or pedestrians were allowed to cross the bridge.

The governor of Zonguldak said they expected another collapse to occur. “We are working to strengthen the remaining, stable part of the bridge. We were expecting the second collapse in the weaker parts of the bridge,” he said, adding that the most important thing is that no one was hurt.

The Cihan news agency said on Monday that a 50-meter stretch of the upper part of the bridge collapsed in the most recent incident.

Although one body was found on Sunday, 14 people are still missing. Helicopter-assisted search and rescue efforts still continue but are far from yielding effective results, as rising waters hamper operations.

The body of Meryem Başören, a mother of two, was found on Sunday by officials. She was buried in Yolgeçen, her home village, after a funeral prayer was held for her on Monday. Çaycuma Mayor Mithat Gülşen, whose father also went missing as the minibus he was in fell into the river, visited the houses of those who had died to offer his condolences to their families.

Late on Sunday, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also visited the scene to witness the recent situation.

Kılıçdaroğlu argued the Filyos project -- which aims to adjust the bed of River Filyos in order to prevent spates -- needs to be revisited following the collapse. He suggested the government should allocate more funds to the project. “Nearly $110 million needs to be invested, but only $5 million has been spent by the government. There is no way to make changes to the riverbed with so little money,” he said.

Çaycuma District Disaster and Emergency Management Director Ahmet Güngör told the press on Monday that 110 people are currently involved in the search and rescue operation. He said the water level is still very high and divers are only able to dive in shallower parts of the river.

On Monday, İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş ordered a team of experts from the İstanbul Fire Department to be sent to Çaycuma to bolster search and rescue efforts.

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