By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
At least one person was seriously hurt while 12 others were rescued after the steel bridge located at Barangay Balabag in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental collapsed.
Based on eye witness accounts, the collapse happened at around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 1, while three vehicles consisting of a sports utility vehicle, a compact car and a pickup truck were trying to cross the bridge.
Local disaster response teams from the cities of Bago and La Carlota immediately responded to the scene. One victim, a 15-year-old teenager, was hospitalized after he was reportedly pinned in the vehicle.
Others, meanwhile, were reported to have either suffered minor cuts and bruises, while some managed to emerge unscathed.
The bridge was initially believed to be part of Barangay Don Jorge Araneta, Bago City. However, after further confirmation among local government units it was clarified that the bridge belongs to La Carlota City.
La Carlota City Mayor Rex Jalandoon said yesterday that the bridge was not supposed to be used by vehicles.
Initial investigation revealed that the bridge collapsed because the three vehicles crossed at the same time.
Jalandoon said the weight of the bridge can only handle light vehicles such as motorcycles and tricycles only.
He further added that the bridge was constructed privately by the Cojuangco family a long time ago.
Jalandoon said he has already ordered the City Engineer’s Office to make an assessment of the bridge and to find funds for its reconstruction./DGB, WDJ