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article imageBorneo suspension bridge collapses, 11 people dead, 30 missing

By Leo Reyes     Nov 28, 2011 in World
At least 11 people were reported dead and more than 30 still missing after a 10-year-old suspension bridge in East Kalimantan on Borneo island collapsed Saturday while workers were doing repair works.
In addition to the initial number of people who died in the bridge incident and the estimated number of missing persons, at least 39 people were reported injured in the accident.
The 720-meter suspension bridge which was constructed in 2009 and resembles the famous Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, collapsed after one of its cables snapped while the bridge was undergoing repair works, sending passing vehicles down the river under the bridge.
The initial death toll could still rise as vehicles with people inside are still submerged in the river below the broken bridge.
"It's difficult to know exactly how many are missing because we don't know how many vehicles and people fell when the bridge collapsed," said National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
"The above-water search is continuing, but underwater operations have not been carried out because we're worried that the bridge's pylons are unstable and could collapse any time," he said.
The incident sparked speculations the bridge may have been built using inferior materials and possible corruption in its construction.
"It is too early to point fingers and look to place blame, but if shoddy materials were used in the building of the bridge, those responsible must answer to the public." a Globe and Mail editorial said
According to the disaster agency spokesman, officials are considering "using echo-sounding sonar to detect objects and create an image of the river's floor to overcome zero visibility in the 40-metre-deep water".
A thorough investigation of the accident has already been ordered by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono .
More about suspension bridge, Borneo, Indonesia, Bridges
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