18 dead, many feared trapped in Varanasi flyover collapse

Crowds gather at the site of the collapsed flyover in Varanasi. Narendra Modi has ordered an investigation into the accident

By nightfall, rescuers had pulled three people alive from the rubble, according to a statement from the National Disaster Response Force.

Local television channel ANI reported that more than 12 people were killed and many others are trapped under the collapsed flyover.

Earlier in the day, Raj Pratap Singh, a member of the committee constituted by the government to probe the incident had said the investigation in the matter was underway. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced financial assistance of five lakh rupees each to next of the kin of those killed and two lakh rupees to the injured.

Multiple people are feared dead after a bridge under construction collapsed in the Indian city of Varanasi on the afternoon of Tuesday May 15.

The incident occurred post-noon, officials said adding rescue teams were rushed to the spot.

Varanasi District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra said their prime focus for now was on rescue and relief.

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The Prime Minister spoke to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and took stock of the situation. "The UP Government is monitoring the situation very closely and is working on the ground to assist the affected", he said.

Further speaking on the incident, CM Adtiyanath said, "I express grief over the incident, my condolence with the affected families".

He also added that he has asked the deputy chief minister and the minister concerned to personally monitor rescue and relief works.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav demanded enquiry in to the accident. "This is the reality of development in the top-priority constituency of the country".

In 2017, soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took power in Uttar Pradesh, work on the project was expedited and the Bridge Corp was given a deadline of March 2019 to complete the work. "Seven teams of the NDRF, comprising 325 workers, have been deployed for the rescue mission", said a government spokesperson.

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