A ferryboat has collided with a bridge pillar in the Amazon region of Brazil on Saturday, April 6, causing the span’s central roadway to plunge into Moju River along with 2 cars and cutting a highway to one of the busiest ports in the country, authorities announced.
According to Para state Gov. Helder Barbalho, witnesses reported seeing the 2 small cars fall into the water during the collision on a highway leading to the state's capital - the port city Belem. It was unknown how many people were in the cars. Fire department scuba divers are searching the river.
The state government revealed the 5 crew members on the ferry had survived, but it had no information about any victims as about 200 m (650 ft) of the half-mile (860-m) bridge had collapsed.
According to local media, an inspection of the bridge in January had found corrosion problems on the pillars but, at the time, the government did not think the problem was serious enough to close the span. However, they requested funds for emergency measures.
The structure is part of a bridges' complex spanning a labyrinth of rivers at the mouth of Amazon River basin in order to provide a road connection between a lot of rural cities and the state capital.
The state government announced it would "install ramps and have barges ferry cars from one end of the broken bridge to the other while the span is rebuilt." Estimated repairs and safety measures would cost US$25 million and take about a year.
In 2014, a boat collided with another bridge's pillar in the same bridge complex and caused about 160 feet (50 meters) of the span to collapse.