Video shows moment bridge collapsed in NE Taiwan

Video shows moment Nanfang'ao Bridge in Yilan, Taiwan suddenly plummeted into waterway

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Screenshot of YouTube video.

Screenshot of YouTube video.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Video has surfaced showing the precise moment the Nanfang'ao Bridge in northeastern Taiwan's Yilan County suddenly collapsed on Tuesday (Oct. 1).

At approximately 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the Nanfang'ao Bridge in Yilan's Su'ao Township suddenly gave way, inuring over 20 people. A tank truck that was on the bridge at the time plummeted the equivalent of six stories, and the bridge landed on top of three fishing boats.

The tank truck burst into flames, and at least nine fishermen were knocked into the water. According to early estimates, six people suffered serious injuries, four sustained minor injuries, and five are still unaccounted for, reported UDN.

In the video, a tank truck can be seen crossing the bridge, and just as it is on the verge of making it across, the structure suffers a catastrophic failure and begins to sag dramatically. The entire bridge then breaks completely free from the road on either side and crashes into the waterway below, causing a massive quantity of water to spray in all directions.

The tank truck is dragged down with the bridge and flips over before bursting into flames. In footage of the immediate aftermath, a red vehicle can then be seen speeding toward the bridge, the driver apparently unaware of the collapse, before finally stopping several meters from the precipice.

The Yilan County Fire Bureau says that 10 fishermen have been rescued, six have suffered serious injuries, and four have sustained minor injuries, according to UDN. Su'ao Township Mayor Lee Ming-che (李明哲) told the media that six fishermen are still believed to be trapped under the bridge.

With the exception of the truck driver, who is Taiwanese, the 10 hospitalized and six missing people are foreign migrant fishery workers, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center. Thus far, a total of 214 first responders, 32 disaster rescue vehicles, 14 ambulances, and 11 boats have been dispatched to the scene, reported TVBS.

Yilan had been buffeted by heavy rain and pounding winds from Typhoon Mitag on Monday (Sept. 30), and a magnitude 3.8 earthquake struck at 1:54 a.m. this morning, registering an intensity level of 4 in Yilan County. Officials have not yet indicated whether either was a factor in the collapse, as the cause is under investigation.

The bridge, which spanned Nanfang'ao Fishing Port, was completed in 1998 and was the only steel single-arch bridge in Taiwan, the first bifurcated single-arch bridge in Asia, and one of only two such bridges in the world. It was 140 meters in length and 15 meters in width.