2007-12-25 05:40:59 Xinhua English
KATHMANDU, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- At least 12 people were dead and some 70 others were missing after a suspension bridge in western Nepal collapsed Tuesday afternoon when a large number of people queued up for their turn to worship in a local temple to mark the full moon festival.
According to a leading website, eKantipur.com report, about 300 people were crossing the ill-fated bridge in Surkhet district, some 375 km west of the capital Kathmandu, when it collapsed at around 1:30 p.m. (0545 GMT), the district police office quoted eye-witnesses as saying.
At least 15 people, most of them women and girls, have been rescued and taken to the Bheri Regional hospital by chopper.
Security officials involved in aerial inspection of the incident site informed that scores of people could be seen flowing in the river. Deputy Inspector General at the regional Armed Police Force Office, Krishna Bahadur Bista said that most of them are women and girls.
Around 200 people reportedly managed to swim to safety.
Meanwhile, a local media website nepalnews.com quoted head of the mid-western division of the army, Ananta Bahadur Thebe, as saying that soldiers of the Nepal Army were rushed to the site immediately after learning about the accident.
He added that they were planning to send an additional army unit on a privately chartered helicopter.
The exact number of those killed in the accident could go up.