A giant steel and concrete section of Australia's longest bridge collapsed on a riverside street in Melbourne today (Thursday October 15), killing at least 30 men.
A giant steel and concrete section of Australia's longest bridge collapsed on a riverside street in Melbourne today (Thursday October 15), killing at least 30 men. The 2,000 ton section of the bridge fell on top of a row of wooden huts where workmen were eating their lunches.
Twenty-one men are still missing and 19 are in hospital, many with serious injuries. The Bridge was designed to carry eight lanes of traffic over the Yarra river from Melbourne western suburbs to the City centre. It was expected to be completed early next year.
At 8,460 feet (2,570 metres) long, it would have been Australia's longest bridge and was costing 42 million dollars (18 million sterling).
Between 70 and 80 men were working on the 450-foot (140 metre) section which crumbled and fell 134 feet (40 metres) onto the riverside huts where dozens of other workmen were taking their lunch-break.
Eye-witnesses said the falling concrete and steel buried some men in soft mud on the river bank. Six massive mobile cranes were brought in to lift the tangled wreckage as police and rescue workers searched for victims Dazed and bleeding workmen were taken to Melbourne hospitals by a shuttle service of ambulances.
The bridge site in the suburb of Footscray has been declared a State disaster area giving police power over all emergency services.
One of the victims was Mr. Jack Hindshaw, chief engineer with the Design Architects, who only six weeks ago assured a meeting of bridge workers that the structure was safe. His assurance was given after a similar structured bridge collapsed at Milford Haven in Wales (UK) in June this year.