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S. Korea bridge collapses; 42 killed

Published Oct. 7, 2005

A section of a major bridge that crosses a river in Seoul collapsed during the morning rush hour today, killing at least 42 people.

One public bus, one van and about 10 cars fell into the Han River when about 50 yards of the four-lane Songsutaekyo bridge collapsed about 7:30 a.m.

Rescue divers and boats that rushed to the river rescued about 30 people and recovered at least 42 bodies, MBC, the semi-official television network, quoted police as saying.

Some of the vehicles fell into the water, and others remained on the fallen section of the bridge, which did not sink.

Footage by the KBS Television network showed the collapsed portion of the bridge in the river with the upside-down wreckage of a bus and a smashed sedan.

Investigators were sent to the bridge to check on the quality of repair work done by the city the night before, KBS said. It added that the weight limit of the bridge was 18 tons and that the limit was regularly exceeded.

Recent news reports have said that many of the 15 bridges crossing the Han River need repairs because they are outdated. The Songsutaekyo bridge, 1,160 yards and 20 yards wide, was built in 1979.