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Death toll in China bridge collapse rises to 34
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14:55, August 15, 2007

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The death toll from a collapsed bridge in central China's Hunan Province has risen to 34 as of Wednesday morning after rescuers retrieved five more bodies from the debris.

The search is still underway, said sources with the local rescue headquarters.

The road bridge, which was being constructed over the Tuojiang River in Fenghuang county, collapsed at 4:40 p.m. on Monday, blocking the Fenghuang-Daxing highway. At least 123 workers were at the site.

Construction of the 328-meter-long, 42-meter-high bridge was scheduled for completion this month and workers have been since mid July dismantling steel scaffolding erected during the construction process.

The project, involving an estimated investment of 12 million yuan (1.6 million US dollars), belongs to Fengda company based in Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in western Hunan, with the contractor of the provincial Road and Bridge Construction (Group) Ltd. Co. (RBC)

Local police have put Xia Youjia, construction manager on behalf of RBC, and project supervisor Jiang Ping, under control for investigation.

All technical data about the bridge have been sealed up for later examination.

Fenghuang, located in western part of Hunan and a major habitat of Tujia and Miao ethnic minorities, is a famous tourist destination.

A group of local officials in charge of construction, traffic and work safety supervision headed by the provincial governor Zhou Qiang and Vice-governor Xu Xianping have arrived at the site.

Source: Xinhua

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