Overloading seen as cause of Bohol bridge collapse; authorities search for vehicles submerged in river

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 28) — Authorities reported that there were 12 utility vehicles and a delivery truck carrying sand and gravel that were passing the Clarin Bridge in Loay, Bohol when the structure collapsed Wednesday afternoon.

An initial report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Thursday said the bridge is still not passable. The report also mentioned that at least four individuals were killed which are still being validated, and 17 others injured.

Loay Mayor Hilario Ayuban previously confirmed the four fatalities, including an Austrian national.

He also said there were three more vehicles found underwater but no bodies were seen inside them.

Bohol Governor Art Yap also confirmed the numbers through Facebook Live at 11 p.m. on Wednesday.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' New Day on Thursday, Bohol Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office chief Anthony Damalerio said retrieval operation will continue in the morning, a day after the accident.

Twenty individuals were already rescued from the collapsed bridge that happened at 4:18 p.m. on Wednesday.

Damalerio, however, said authorities had to stop the retrieval operations due to strong current and rains.

"Several private vehicles were submerged into the river...Some vehicles were covered and trampled by heavy infrastructure," a report from the Bohol Police Provincial Office stated.

According to Yap, at least 11 vehicles fell into the river, including four 4-wheeler trucks, two tricycles, two motor bikes and one dump truck.

Damalerio also suspected that overloading could be the cause of the collapse.

He noted that the bridge was built in the 1970s and was hit by an earthquake in 2013.

"There was one dumptruck fully loaded with construction—parang graba, and when this dumptruck reached the center of the bridge, nag-counterflow siya, kasi dapat one way lang..." Damalerio said, "and pagdating niya sa gitna ng bridge doon na nag-collapse, due to overload."

[Translation: There was one dumptruck that was fully loaded with gravel and when this dumptruck reached the center of the bridge, it did a counterflow even if it was a one-way lane...and when it reached the center, the bridge collapsed due to overload.]

Cebu correspondent Dale Israel contributed to this report.