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Bridge collapse leaves two dead in E China
Updated: 2008-08-18 16:21

JINAN - Two people were confirmed dead and three others injured, after a road bridge on which at least 20 people were strolling collapsed in east China's Shandong Province on Sunday.

Fifteen people were rescued unharmed, but the exact number of people on the bridge, which spanned a swollen river in Wulian County, was unknown.

"Witnesses said that there were 22 or 23 people on the bridge, which collapsed at about 7:30 p.m.," said Mei Wenri, a county official.

He said more than 4,500 people had been mobilized to continue a search of the river.

Wulian County, under the jurisdiction of the coastal city of Rizhao, was hit by torrential rain in the eastern part of Shandong over the weekend, when 12 reservoirs in the province started to discharge floodwaters, according to the local hydrological station.

Mei said many residents were excited to see the Longhe River refilling.

"Most of the victims were locals who rushed to enjoy the view after the rain stopped on Sunday," he said.

He added the bridge had been unused for sometime, because the Longhe river was dry for most of the year.

Floating debris blocked by the bridge channels, causing the river to rise swiftly, which may have triggered the collapse, said Mei.