Five bodies have been found following the collapse of a bridge in eastern Taiwan, leaving one person unaccounted for as rescuers continue their search, authorities said Wednesday.
The bodies are those of five migrant workers from Indonesia and the Philippines who were on two fishing boats that were crushed when the Nanfangao Bridge collapsed around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, according to rescuers.
Four of the men were on one vessel, and one was on the other. A third fishing boat was also crushed, but there were no casualties.
The driver of an oil tanker truck that fell with the bridge and burst into flames was critically injured but is now in stable condition, hospital authorities said.
[Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Administration of the Ocean Affairs Council]
Including the Taiwanese truck driver in his 60s, a total of 12 people were injured, including nine foreign nationals.
Video footage showed the steel arch bridge at Nanfangao, a fishing township in Yilan County, suffering a catastrophic failure and plunging several stories into the water below.
The truck had driven over the span and was just about to reach the other side when the bridge suddenly gave way.
President Tsai Ing-wen has ordered the transportation ministry to investigate the cause of the collapse, saying her government will not shirk its responsibility.
The ministry has already formed a task force, while the Yilan District Prosecutors Office has kicked off its own investigation.
It is unclear if the weather had anything to do with the collapse. Typhoon Mitag swept through Taiwan early Tuesday, but the sky had cleared up by the time of the accident.
The bridge, completed in 1998, was reinforced in 2017 and again last year. It was last examined in 2016 and was scheduled for another checkup next year.