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Indonesia bridge collapse leaves 9 dead, 17 wounded

Christian Fernsby |
Rescuers recovered nine bodies and were searching another missing person after a suspension bridge collapsed in Indonesia's western Bengkulu province on Sunday, Head of the Search and Rescue Office of the province Abdul Malik said today.

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Torrential rains had triggered flash floods that hit the bridge in the province's district of Kaur at 3:00 p.m. Jakarta time, the National Disaster Management Agency has said.

A total of 17 people survived the accident and suffered injuries, according to spokesman for the province's Disaster Management Agency Heru.

"We have recovered nine victims of the bridge collapse. All of them have been dead. And our target now is to find one person who is still missing," Abdul told Xinhua.

The rescuers were combing the downstream area of the river to find the missing person, involving over 100 rescuers from his office, soldiers, policemen and personnel of the Disaster Management Agency as well as volunteers.

"The search would cover about a 27-km long area, starting from the bridge, and it will end to the estuary of the river," said Malik.

Although the rescuers used rubber and rigid boats, the strong current of the river hampered the search mission, he said.

"The current remains strong after days of heavy downpours. That is an obstacle for us now," said Abdul.

Torrential rains were blamed for the natural disaster, according to Agus Wibowo, spokesman of the National Disaster Management Agency.

The Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency has warned of possible excessive downpours in several parts of the vast-archipelagic country in January and February.

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