Friday, June 14, 2024
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Pittsburgh bridge collapses, drops city bus into ravine

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A 50-year-old bridge collapsed in Pittsburgh on Friday, requiring rescuers to rappel down a ravine and form a human chain to reach a few occupants of a municipal bus that plummeted along with the span. No deaths were reported.

The collapse came hours before United States (US) President Joe Biden arrived in the city to promote his USD1 trillion infrastructure law, which earmarked about USD1.6 billion for Pennsylvania bridge maintenance.

At least four people required hospital treatment. Five other vehicles were also on the bridge at the time. The cause was being investigated, and crews searched under the debris for additional victims.

A large crack showed on the end of the bridge where the segmented bus landed 46 metres down in the ravine, as if hit by an earthquake. A car landed upside down in front of the bus, which was operated by the Pittsburgh area’s transit agency.

The Forbes Avenue bridge over Fern Hollow Creek in Frick Park came down at 6.39am, city officials said. The loud noise from the collapse was followed by a hissing sound and the smell of natural gas, witnesses said.

Ruptured gas lines along the bridge produced the leak, and the supply of gas was shut off within a half-hour, city officials said.

By midafternoon, three adults were being treated, and were in fair condition, the UPMC hospital system said. A fourth person received treatment and was released.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to investigate. The agency tweeted a photo on Friday of Chair Jennifer Homendy at the scene.

Most of the 10 people evaluated for injuries were first responders who were checked for exhaustion or because of the cold and snowy weather.

The segmented bus operated by the Port Authority of Allegheny County had two passengers in addition to the driver, said Adam Brandolph, spokesperson for the agency.

A Port Authority bus and a car that were on a bridge when it collapsed in Pittsburgh’s East End. PHOTO: AP
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