Accident: The search for the seven missing non-Bhutanese labourers who fell into the Amochhu and were washed away yesterday will continue today.

Nine non-Bhutanese labourers were working on completing the 400-foot suspension-bailey bridge for motor vehicles when it collapsed.

While the cause of the accident has not yet been determined, early reports are pointing to one of the bridge’s suspension cables snapping.

The incident occurred at around 12:10pm yesterday.

Of the nine labourers, the body of one was recovered by a search and rescue team.

Another labourer was found critically injured near the site and was referred to the Samtse hospital.

The search and rescue team that comprised of officials from the dzongkhag, dungkhag, gewogs, police, and volunteers suspended their search at 7pm yesterday.

The bridge, was supposed to be Denchukha’s first bridge for motor vehicles, and was supposed to connect Denchukha and Dophuchen (Dorokha) in Samtse once completed. It was scheduled to be completed this month.

The launching works, which involves connecting the two sides of the bridge,  was ongoing when the mishap occurred.

Sources said a cable had snapped. However, Kuensel could not confirm this information.

The launching works were about to be completed, Department of Roads (DoR) officials in Phuentsholing told Kuensel.

Denchukha Gup, Hemraj Limbu said that construction of the bridge  was started in 2012. Although the bridge connects Denchukha and Dorokha, it is more important to the people of Denchukha as the bridge was supposed to allow vehicles to cross the river, he said.

“This bridge was supposed to have been completed in 2013 but was not,” the gup said.

While there is a pedestrian suspension bridge connecting Denchukha, it takes more than an hour to use that route.

The bridge construction had two components and the Bhutanese contractor completed the first component but failed to meet the initial deadline.

The second part of the construction also did not see expected results as some materials were stolen, which prolonged completion.

The launching works had just started in mid-April this year. The contractor had planned to complete the work in the span of about a month.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing