Rain havoc: Two buses with 22 people go missing as bridge falls in Maharashtra
Around five to six private vehicles are also missing and are feared to be washed away in the floods
In an unfortunate incident, at least two buses carrying 11 passengers each and several other vehicles went missing after a bridge on the Savitri River near Mahad city in Maharashtra collapsed on Wednesday.
Due to torrential rains resulting in flood in the Konkan region, the bridge, reportedly more than seven decade old and a critical link to the Mumbai-Goa national highway, crashed around 1 a.m.
Raigad Collector Sheetal Ugale said two state transport buses with 11 passengers each were missing and there was no contact with either the drivers or any passengers.
Since the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation buses -- which started from Mumbai -- did not arrive at their scheduled Mahad depot, Ugale appealed people to get in touch with the authorities concerned about their missing relatives.
Locals said that around five to six private vehicles were also missing and they were feared to be washed away in the floods.
A search operation have been initiated, Ugale said.
"The bridge was built during the British era. After discussion with the National Highways Authority, we have shifted traffic to the new parallel bridge nearby. We are trying to confirm reports of other missing vehicles," Ugale said.
Rehabilitation Minister Chandrakant Patil said helicopters would be deployed and the help of defence forces was taken to search the missing vehicles.
Meanwhile, a 45-member National Disaster Response Force team reached Raigad from Pune to assist in the rescue operations.
Incessant rains continue to lash the coastal Konkan, northern and western Maharashtra since past five days.