November 18, 2019 / 12:10 PM / 23 days ago

French teenager dies after bridge collapses into river

TOULOUSE, France, Nov 18 (Reuters) - A 15-year-old girl died and several people are likely missing after a bridge collapsed into a river in southwestern France on Monday, emergency services said.

The 150 metre-long suspension bridge in Mirepoix-sur-Tarn, near Toulouse, collapsed as a lorry, car and possibly a van were crossing, the local prosecutor said. The bridge was limited to 19-tonne vehicles.

Television images showed one car nose-down in the water, with only its rear lights and bumper above the surface. The mother of the deceased teenager was among three people rescued from the water, the prosecutor added.

The local prefect Etienne Guyot said the full number of casualties was not yet known.

“There are probably several people missing, we can’t yet determine how many,” Guyot told reporters. “Our priority is to find these people.”

The bridge was inspected every six years and had shown no sign of structural weakness at its last inspection in 2017, the Haute-Garonne regional council told Reuters.

Senators last year called for more money to check and repair bridges across France after the collapse of a motorway viaduct in Genoa, Italy, killed 43 people. (Reporting by Johanna Decorse in Toulouse and Simon Carraud in Paris, writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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