20 dead in Hyderabad, India flyover collapse

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Sunday, September 9, 2007

At least 20 people have died and 20 more are injured after a partially constructed flyover (overpass) in Hyderabad, India collapsed onto traffic.

The disaster occurred at the Panjagutta junction, near Nagarjuna Circle. Two large concrete sections dropped onto oncoming cars and motorised rickshaws, damaging several severely.

A large emergency effort was immediately activated, but experienced severe difficulties in reaching the site due to congested traffic resulting from the collapse. Ambulances from the 108 EMRI Service and Appollo Hospitals attended the scene, and rushed the injured to a variety of nearby hospitals. All the region's major hospitals, particularly the nearby Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences, have placed their medical staff on emergency alert. Rescuers are now using cranes and cutting equipment in an effort to reach anyone who may still be trapped. It is expected that the death toll could rise further as many vehicles remain trapped under tons of debris.

Various politicians also attended the scene, including the local district collector, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy, Senior Congress Leader and MLA from Khairathabad P Janardhan Reddy and several other ministers.

Police have asked both the public and the press to keep away from the area, in order to prevent further collapse of the unstable structure. Preliminary investigations suggest the flyover had been been poorly constructed. The construction project had been carried out by leading contractor Gammon India Limited. It had been delayed, the original foundations having been built in 2005. After a successful request by the company to have the deadline for the project extended, work was slated to cease in November of this year, with the flyover entering operation by December. It is believed heavy rains in the area a few hours prior to the collapse may have contributed to the disaster.


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