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April 24, 2024

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4 missing after vessel collides with bridge in Guangdong

A VESSEL collided with a bridge in Foshan City, south China’s Guangdong Province, on Monday night resulting in four people going missing.

A preliminary investigation suggests that the accident may have been caused by incorrect operation of the vessel due to the influence of flooding from an upstream river, local authorities said yesterday.

The ship, carrying over 4,900 tons of rolled steel, was traveling from Fuzhou, Fujian Province, to the city of Heshan, Guangdong, on Monday night. The vessel, which had a crew of 11 people, collided with the base of a pillar of the Jiujiang Bridge at 9:20pm and the cargo hold started taking on water. The ship later ran aground and finally sank at around 11:40pm.

Seven of the crew members were rescued, while the other four remain missing, Foshan’s emergency management department said.

As of 9am yesterday, the local government had coordinated maritime, fishery and social rescue forces in dispatching 32 vessels and more than 400 personnel to participate in search and rescue efforts. Experts conducted a preliminary assessment of the bridge and found no obvious damage to the main structure. However, there were abrasions on the pillar.

Torrential rains have lashed Guangdong in recent days, swelling rivers and raising fears of severe flooding that media said could be of the sort only “seen around once a century.”

Yesterday, Shenzhen was among the areas experiencing “heavy to very heavy downpours”, the city’s meteorological observatory said, adding the risk of flash floods was “very high.”

It later downgraded its weather warning as the storms weakened.

Official media reported on Sunday that more than 45,000 people had been evacuated from Qingyuan, which straddles the Bei River tributary.

Xinhua news agency said that 110,000 residents across Guangdong had been relocated since the downpours started over the weekend.

The floods have claimed the lives of four people and 10 are missing.

Aerial shots from Guangdong showed brown gashes in the side of a hill — the aftermath of landslides that had occurred behind a town on the banks of a swollen river. Soldiers could be seen operating excavators in an attempt to clear away the muddy debris produced by the downpour.

Parts of Guangdong have not seen such severe flooding so early in the year since records began in 1954, China National Radio reported.


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