Few hopes for survivors in Karachi bridge collapse


Islamabad : Pakistani rescuers battled Sunday to reach vehicles crushed beneath a section of an overpass that collapsed in the southern port city of Karachi the previous day, killing at least five people.

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It was not clear how many people were trapped beneath the 70-metre curve of the newly built Shershah overpass in the city’s northern outskirts, or if any were still alive.

Unconfirmed news reports put the number of dead at 10, citing human remains inside visible wrecks of vehicles, while emergency workers appeared to relinquish hope of finding survivors.

“Everything has been smashed and flattened and there is no chance of any survivor making it (out) alive,” Chief Fire Officer Mohammed Ehtisham told the Dawn newspaper.

Initial reports said voices of trapped people could be heard after the overpass collapsed shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday. A taxi driver who was pulled to safety said there were more than a dozen bodies beneath the debris.

An inquiry was launched into the cause of the accident, which occurred less than a month after President Pervez Musharraf inaugurated the structure.

Onlookers continued to move towards the debris and were wandering beneath precariously suspended sections of broken roadway.

Frustrated at the slow progress of the rescue operations, some threw stones at emergency workers, who were unable even with heavy machinery to move larger sections of the overpass.