Sierra Leone bridge collapses, 6 killed
13 August 2013, 13:19
Freetown - Rescuers said on Monday they have called off the
search for survivors after a decades-old bridge collapsed in heavy rain in the
capital of Sierra Leone, killing six people.
The King Jimmy crossing, which connects the west of Freetown
with the city centre, came down around 04:00 on Friday.
Rescue workers, military officers and policemen pulled six
bodies from the rubble and scoured the accident site for survivors as
torrential rain continued to lash the city over the weekend.
Residents told AFP dozens of homeless youngsters usually
live under the bridge in the rundown area, sparking fears they were buried when
the structure gave way.
But no more bodies have been discovered and there is
"little hope of finding any more survivors", said Sammy Bangura, a
civilian member of one of the search teams.
Hundreds of mourners, including Vice-President Sam Sumana,
attended a funeral for the victims on Sunday, Sierra Leone Television (SLTV)
Survivors recalled the the horror of the collapse after the
rescue wound up.
"I was sitting underneath the bridge with ten other
youths when it caved in. I managed to surface from the debris," Mohamed
Dumbuya told a group of reporters near the wreckage.
The bridge is one of the major crossings in central
Freetown. It is named after a chief who led a local tribe around the 1700s and
is located near a vibrant riverside market from where thousands of people were
trafficked as slaves to the Americas in the 18th century.
The collapse left around 5 000 residents without electricity
and efforts are being made to repair their supply, an official from the state
power company said.