3 people missing after footbridge collapses in South Cotabato village

May 9, 2010 11:38 am 

KORONADAL CITY, May 9 – Three persons were reported missing after a footbridge connecting the hinterland boundaries of Lake Sebu and T’boli towns in South Cotabato collapsed on Saturday night, police officials said this morning.

Senior Supt. Nilo Wong, South Cotabato police director, said at least 60 people were reportedly crossing a footbridge in Barangay Halilan in Lake Sebu at around 7:30 p.m. Saturday when it suddenly collapsed, tossing all its weight into a river in the area.

He said most of the victims were able to escape from the river’s rampaging waters unscathed or with minor injuries but three of them were still reported missing as of Sunday morning.

“Our rescue operations are still ongoing and so far we have not yet confirmed any fatality or recovered any remains of the missing victims,” Wong said.

Citing a report from the T’boli police station, he said the victims were already on their way home when the incident happened.

He said the victims, who were mostly residents of Barangay Halilan and the neighboring areas, arrived in the area aboard dump truck at past 7 p.m. after reportedly attending a political rally in the town proper of Lake Sebu.

Barangay Halilan is a remote village located at the boundary of Lake Sebu and T’boli towns.

“While the group was crossing the foot bridge, some of the young men who came with them reportedly jumped several times purposely to make the bridge sway but it failed to carry all their weight and eventually collapsed,” Wong said.

He said some members of the group immediately went to the T’boli police station, which the nearest police unit to the area, to report the incident and seek help.

Wong said they dispatched a team of rescuers to the area but they failed to account the three missing victims.

“The river’s current was unusually strong when the foot bridge collapsed and it could have carried away the three missing victims. But our rescuers are still there and they will not stop until all the victims are rescued or fully accounted for,” he added. (PNA)

FFC/AVE

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