A seven-ton electromagnet is to be used to salvage the missing people and
vehicles after a bridge collapsed in south China's Guangdong Province, local
maritime affairs department said yesterday.
The 9,000-watt magnet, which has an attraction force of 30 tons, arrived at
the scene early Sunday evening. Initially it might be used to salvage an object
located 900 meters downstream from the site of bridge collapse.
Experts suspected that the object was the debris of a vehicle about 20 meters
underwater. But it was not decided whether the operation would be launched
Sunday night, because the water was flowing fast.
Earlier salvage efforts by frogmen failed because the water, which is 33 to
36 meters deep, was beyond their working conditions.
Rescuers then tried to hook the vehicles and pull them out with cable, but
this didn't work either.
Video images from traffic monitors showed four vehicles carrying seven
people, and two bridge workers were on the bridge when it collapsed after being
hit by a sand barge.
Six crew members, including their captain, have been detained by maritime
The 1,600-meter-long bridge connects Jiujiang Township in Nanhai district of
Foshan to neighbouring Heshan city.
Sections of the collapsed bridge fell onto the bow of the boat, partially
submerging it. All 10 crew members were rescued, and two were released from
hospital after being treated.