At least twelve people are known to have died after the 7,00-ton bulk ore carrier Lake Illawarra demolished several spans of the Tasman bridge in Hobart, Tasmania, on Sunday (5 January).
At least twelve people are known to have died after the 7,00-ton bulk ore carrier Lake Illawarra demolished several spans of the Tasman bridge in Hobart, Tasmania, on Sunday (5 January). five members of the ship's crew are missing after the vessel sank following the collision with bridge pylons, and seven bodies have been recovered from cars which plunged into the Derwent River during the incident.
Army salvage crews and naval frogmen have been working to locate and recover vehicles from the river bed. On Wednesday (8 January) a floating crane was used to salvage a car containing two bodies -- later identified as a married couple from Hobart. A second car, some distance from the bridge, was later discovered to contain several more bodies. Rescue and salvage authorities fear more vehicles may be trapped along the murky river bottom...which would bring the official death toll even higher.
The Federal Government in Canberra has pledged a grant of at least 13 million dollars (7.6 million pounds sterling)over the next two financial years to repair the mile-long (1.6 kms) bridge, improve the existing alternative road and update ferry services. It has also promised a Marine Court of Enquiry to determine the cause of the accident, which the Lake Illawarra's captain has attributed to a steering defect.