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Costa Rican bridge collapse kills six

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.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Anyone who has lived in rural Costa Rica knows how absurd the Transport Minister's comments truly are. To pass the buck onto the bus drivers, who were the only ones mentioned in the article actually doing their job, is cowardly to say the least.

    It's absurd to think that bus drivers and poor working class Costa Ricans are going to forgo transportation from 2002 until now in hopes of a bridge getting fixed. It's also absurd to think that posting a ridiculous sign in front of the bridge gets you off the hook. The vast majority of Costa Ricans use a bus for transport. Are people going to stay at home and starve to death because the Transport Ministry won't do its job? I submit that they won't. And guess what--they didn't and six of them died. Shame!

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  • I live beside the west coast main line on the outskirts of Glasgow, and a few hundred yards from my house a minor road crosses the line via a bridge with a posted 1.5 ton limit. The limit is ignored, and while I've never seen an articulated lorry cross it I have seen vehicles I estimate at 20 tons using it - including the local council refuse truck.

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