Death toll rises, dozens missing after overpass collapses onto traffic in India

Posted at 5:20 AM, Mar 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 06:29:21-04

NEW DELHI (CNN) — An overpass collapsed near the Indian city of Kolkata, killing 14 people and leaving dozens missing, authorities said.

More than 100 people were reported missing after the incident Thursday, which occurred in a busy commercial area north of the city, said Sgt. Saurav Benerjee of Kolkata police.

However, authorities stressed that just because some have been reported missing doesn’t mean they’re trapped — it just means they’re unaccounted for.

The army has deployed four columns of rescue personnel, according to a tweet from a representative of the Indian Ministry of Defense. Three medical teams with two ambulances, doctors and nursing assistants are also there.

The collapse occurred around midday, which would have been a busy time in the area.

Since the collapse, 62 people have been pulled out of the rubble, according to Maj. Gen. Anurag Gupta with India’s National Disaster Management Authority. It’s not clear if those were among the 100-plus people unaccounted for mentioned by Benerjee.

The incident occurred in Girish Park, a crowded neighborhood with many wholesale markets.

Slabs from the flyover, which has been under construction for five years, fell on moving vehicles, Benerjee said.

Some people are feared trapped in their cars, and construction workers may be buried under the debris.

Deadly construction accidents are tragically common in India and the rest of South Asia.

A building collapse in Pakistan killed 23 people in November, and nine died when a residential building fell in India in July of last year.

In neighboring Bangladesh, more than 1,000 people were killed when a poorly constructed garment factory caved in almost three years ago.