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Death toll in China bridge collapse rises to 64
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08:00, August 20, 2007

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FENGHUANG, Hunan: The death toll in the bridge collapse in Central China's Hunan Province rose to 64 after rescuers found more bodies on Saturday.

The rescue headquarters said about 152 people were working on the bridge when it collapsed on the afternoon of August 13. Twenty-two of them have been injured.

But a source with the rescue headquarters said final figures of the dead and missing can be known only after the rescue work is over. It's difficult to know the exact number of people working on the bridge when it collapsed because they were part of seven construction teams, with some being casual laborers.

The headquarters has talked to project managers, labor contractors and families of the workers and arrived at a conclusion that 152 were working on the ill-fated bridge.

The government on Saturday suspended work on all unreinforced arch bridges in the country. Minister of Communications Li Shenglin passed the order on Friday, asking all provincial transportation departments to organize special teams to examine all unreinforced arch bridges. Work on them could resume only after they are declared safe.

The search for victims became easier after experts detonated explosives at 2:28 am on Friday to demolish the three collapsed concrete piers, where more bodies were feared to have been buried, rescuers said.

Source: Xinhua

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