PANAJI: Rescue teams today recovered the body of a man, who had allegedly committed suicide by jumping into Sanvordem river last evening, police said.
Crowding of onlookers on an old bridge on the river to watch the efforts to rescue the man after he jumped into water had led to the collapse of the bridge, in which at least two persons died, police said.
The rescue teams had last night recovered bodies of two victims, who fell into the river after the bridge collapse, police said.
"The third body was recovered during the rescue operation today. The body is that of the man, who had committed suicide before the bridge collapse," a senior police official told PTI.
The bridge across Sanvordem river, a tributary of the Zuari in South Goa, had caved in under the weight of scores of onlookers watching the rescue operation of the man, who committed suicide.
Two persons had drowned while around 20 swam to safety after the bridge, connecting Sanvordem and Curchorem villages in South Goa district, collapsed. Fourteen people were rescued and taken to nearby hospitals. Around 50 people had gathered on the bridge to watch the rescue efforts when it gave way and they fell into the water. The bridge has been closed for traffic for the last four years.
The search, which resumed this morning as several persons were still feared missing, was taken over by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) this afternoon from the Navy and a local agency.
The search and rescue operation which was called off at 3.30 am, had resumed at 7.30 am. While there was no breakthrough during the entire day, the third body was retrieved around 4.30 pm, police said.
"The rescue operations resumed at 7.30 am today to trace if more lives had been lost. However, the divers of the Indian Navy and Drishti Lifesaving Services engaged in the search stopped the operation in the afternoon as they did not find any more bodies," Superintendent of Police (South) Shekhar Prabhudesai said.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team from Pune took charge of the search operations in the afternoon.
"An NDRF team from Pune arrived at the site and started assessing the situation. We have not yet called off the search and rescue operations. The decision whether to continue the search or withdraw it would be decided after National Disaster Response Force assesses the situation," South District Collector Swapnil Naik told PTI.
At present, there are no bodies in the water near the accident site and there is a possibility that they might have been swept away in the river, he said.
A spokesman of the Indian Navy said since crocodiles are present in the river, precautions are being taken for the safety of the divers.
Meanwhile, the state government announced that all the "dilapidated and unsafe" bridges would be dismantled soon.
"The work of preparing a list of dilapidated bridges across the state and then dismantling them will be taken up seriously," State Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai told reporters after visiting the site.
"The government will also carry out a safety audit of bridges and those which are found unsafe and not used by commuters, would be dismantled," he said.
The minister met the people who were rescued yesterday and are being treated at the district hospital in Margao.