Three of the nine bodies recovered as of last night 

Younten Tshedup 

Three expatriate workers died and six more are still missing after a newly constructed bridge over Wangchhu collapsed yesterday afternoon.

As of last night, rescuers were able to retrieve three bodies.

Police, army, de-suup, and officials from Project Dantak including the project’s chief engineer were involved in searching the bodies along the river bank.

The 204m Wangchhu Bridge along Damchu-Haa road, which was nearing completion, collapsed around 4:30pm yesterday.

Given the low visibility and risk from the fragile structure above, the search was stopped around 8pm last night. The search for bodies will continue today.

Sources at the site said that there were nine people working on the 204-metre bridge when it collapsed around 4.30pm. Among them were two civil engineers.

It was learnt that the workers were carrying out some final touches on the bridge railing as the structure was nearing its completion.

Sources said that although the cause of the collapse was unknown, the project had not started load-testing exercise yet.

The two sides of the bridge were connected about two months ago, according to the source.

Construction works of the bridge along the 12km Damchu-Haa link road started in January 2017. The bridge joins Chuzom-Haa road at Wanakha, Paro and is being constructed by Project Dantak.

The bridge was constructed at around Nu 230 million.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering shared his condolences on his Facebook page. He said, “Day ends with a very unfortunate news of the Wangchhu bridge collapse at Damchu-Haa road today. Saying prayers for the lives lost and wishing strength to the family.” 

 Lyonchhen added that as rescue efforts continued in the dark, he hoped that all the missing persons were found ‘safe and sound’. “My thoughts are with Dantak team led by Chief Engineer Brigadier Kabir Kashyap and all our rescue workers.”

We will bring you more details today.