Six bus passengers have died in Costa Rica after a narrow wooden suspension bridge collapsed beneath their vehicle.
The bridge, known as the Puente Angosto de Turrabares, has been described as “seriously fatigued” and a weight restriction, which the bus exceeded, was in place.
Transport Minister Karla González said the bus driver ignored the weight restriction sign and crossed the bridge on his route to Orotina from Turrubares.
“We all have to accept responsibility for this tragedy and for the fact that the bridge was neglected, but at the same time, we did put up signs to warn drivers.”
Karla González, Transport Minister
The bus was halfway across the 50m, single-lane bridge when one of its steel suspension cables collapsed, sending the bus into the Río Tárcoles river. González admitted that a 75m iron reinforcement had been bought for the bridge in 2002, but engineers had so far failed to attach it. “The bridge was seriously fatigued, but it collapsed due to too much weight,” she said.
“We all have to accept responsibility for this tragedy and for the fact that the bridge was neglected, but at the same time, we did put up signs to warn drivers not to cross carrying more than four tonnes in weight and we cannot be expected to put a policeman on the bridge to ensure drivers obey the signs.”
Red Cross spokesman Mario Víquez said that four people died at the scene, a fifth person died en route to hospital, and the sixth died at a hospital in Orotina. Two other people were seriously inured.