Rescuers form human chain to save people from bus dangling off collapsed bridge in US

28 January 2022, 18:57

Bridge collapses in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Bridge collapses in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Picture: Getty

By Emma Soteriou

Rescuers have formed a human chain to save a group of people trapped on a bus which was left dangling off a collapsed bridge in the US.

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The two-lane bridge collapsed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, just before 7am on Friday, prompting rescuers to rappel nearly 150ft.

It came mere hours before US President Joe Biden was due to visit the city to press for his trillion-dollar infrastructure bill - which includes bridge maintenance.

There were minor injuries as a result of the collapse but no fatalities, authorities said.

They added that drones were being used to ensure no one was under any collapsed sections.

The scene was compared by photographers at the scene to the aftermath of an earthquake, with a huge crack where the bus had been and a car flipped upside down.

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A human chain was formed to save people on the bus.
A human chain was formed to save people on the bus. Picture: Alamy

Sam Wasserman, a spokesperson for Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, said a few hours after the collapse that officials were evaluating the scene and an urban search-and-rescue team was still combing the area for any other possible victims.

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

The bus driver and at least one passenger were also among those evaluated by emergency medical responders.

Three people were taken to hospital but none had critical injuries, Mr Wasserman said.

Before its collapse the bridge carried approximately 14,500 vehicles a day
Before its collapse the bridge carried approximately 14,500 vehicles a day. Picture: Getty

City officials said the collapse caused a gas leak but the supply had since been shut off.

Llieutenant governor John Fetterman called the site "just an awful, surreal scene", adding: "I hope it's a wake-up call to the nation that we need to make these infrastructure investments."

Biden confirmed he would still be visiting the city following the incident.
Biden confirmed he would still be visiting the city following the incident. Picture: Alamy

A statement from the White House confirmed that Mr Biden would proceed with his planned trip to Pittsburgh.

"Our team is in touch with state and local officials on the ground as they continue to gather information about the cause of the collapse," it said.

"The president is grateful to the first responders who rushed to assist the drivers who were on the bridge at the time."

The steel span, built in 1970, carries about 14,500 vehicles a day, according to a 2005 estimate.

Mr Wasserman said the most recent inspection was in September but the report was not immediately available.

In 2019, an inspection revealed that the deck and superstructure was in poor condition, according to the US Department of Transportation's National Bridge Inventory.

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