The Nanfangao Bridge in Yilan, Taiwan, collapsed on October 1 injuring multiple people. The arched bridge was located in eastern Taiwan and is regarded as a tourist attraction in the area. The incident occurred at around 9:30 a.m. local time.
At the time of writing, Taiwan News reports that more than 20 people have been injured. As the bridge collapsed, an oil tanker truck was sent crashing, tail first, into the boats below. That crash resulted in the truck catching fire. That fire did not spread to other boats, according to reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. So Far, 10 People Have Been Rescued From the Water
CNA in Taiwan reports that at least three fishing boats were crushed by the falling truck. The network says that rescue crews are searching for those who were on board.
UDN reports that 10 people have been rescued from the water and rushed to a local hospital with serious injuries. Mayor Lee Ming-che has been quoted by local media as saying that six people remain trapped under the bridge. While Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung has said that around six people were on the bridge at the time of the collapse.
2. The Driver of the Truck Has Spinal Injuries & Is Unable to Speak
TVBS reports that the driver of the truck is the only Taiwanese person involved in the crash. Taiwan English News identified the driver by his last name, Zhang. The website reports that he has suffered spinal and internal injuries and has undergone emergency surgery at the Luodong Bo’ai Hospital. The article adds that Zhang is unable to speak.
3. 5 Filipino Fishermen Have Been Discharged From Local Hospitals With Minor Injuries
Those working on the fishing boats are foreign migrants. So far, six have been identified as Filipino nationals and another three identified as being Indonesian. CNN Philippines named the Filipinos as, Julio S. Gimawa, Jason N. Villaruel, Allan H. Alcansano, John Vicente Royo and June B. Flores. The network says that all five have been discharged but that there are three missing Filipino fishermen.
Migrants working on fishing boats in Taiwan is common as pay is much higher than in their home countries. TVBS says that there were over 200 first responders in the area at the time of the crash. Among those responders are military personnel and divers. Taiwan News reports that two rescuers have also been sent to a hospital with injuries. Rappler reports that the majority of fishermen in Taiwan are Filipino, Indonesian or Vietnamese.
4. The Area Around the Bridge Had Been Pounded by Typhoon Mitag in the Hours Leading Up to the Collapse
In the days leading up to the collapse, Yilan County had been pounded with heavy rain and winds by Typhoon Mitag. Wind speeds were measured at around 100 miles per hour and cutting power to close to 70,000 homes. While on Monday, September 30, an earthquake struck the area. Officials have not said if those conditions contributed to the collapse. The weather at the time of the collapse was sunny. Due to the typhoon, Taiwan English News reports that there were a higher number of fishing boats in the area as they were seeking shelter from the storm.
5. The Bridge Was Supposed to Have a Lifespan of 50 Years, it Was Completed in 1998
The Nanfangao Bridge was completed in 1998 and is one of only two single arch-cable steel bridges in the world. The bridge is 500 feet long and 50 feet wide. When it was built, the bridge was designed to replace a lower bridge which was so lower, fishing boats could not safely pass under it. The Liberty Times in Taiwan reports that there have been reports in recent years that maintenance crews working on the bridge had found significant damage to cables and other key areas of the bridge. Taiwan transportation minister Lin Chia-lung said following the crash that the bridge was expected to have a lifespan of 50 years.