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Overpass collapse in Laval, Quebec

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  • Overpass collapse in Laval, Quebec

    Ongoing news story about an overpass which collapsed, sending several to hospital, and trapping an unknown number of cars on the roadway beneath.

    Overpass collapse
    Communications Diva of the IACOJ, and proud member of the WOT!

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  • #2
    Thanks, Pat. I haven't been able to start new threads, and it is very frustrating. The firefighters and rescuers have been in my thoughts since I heard the news yesterday. Must have been a horrific scene

    They have now announced how many died.


    Five killed in Quebec overpass collapse: police
    01/10/2006 10:45:38 AM

    Quebec police have confirmed the deaths of five people after a highway overpass collapsed Saturday, crushing two cars below.

    CTV.ca News Staff

    Rescue workers attempt to free two cars trapped under rubble after an overpass collapsed onto autoroute 19 in Laval, Que., Saturday.(CP / Ryan Remiorz)

    "We have one vehicle where we are now able to confirm that three individuals were actually inside," Quebec provincial police spokesman Jayson Gauthier said Sunday.

    "We are not able at this point to identify positively these individuals.''

    A few minutes later, police announced they had discovered a second body in the other car that was trapped when the overpass fell in Laval, Que.

    The cars were removed from beneath the rubble of the overpass early Sunday morning -- 15 hours after they were crushed at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

    Rescue workers covered the mangled, flattened cars with plastic sheets before loading them onto a tractor-trailer at the site of the accident.

    CTV's Jed Kahane was on the scene Sunday morning.

    "When the emergency workers got to those cars, the ones underneath were no more than ankle or knee height, so they were crushed completely by the weight of the structure," Kahane said.

    "So it's really a scene of utter devastation and anyone who was in those cars would have had no chance at all."

    Heavy equipment, such as cranes and a front-end loader were used to dig through the rubble overnight, breaking the concrete into as many as 18 massive slabs so rescuers could get at the vehicles. The rescue effort is now complete.

    "Workers were able to dislodge two vehicles which had been heading south,'' Quebec provincial police spokeswoman Isabelle Gendron told The Canadian Press in an interview.

    Several other vehicles were travelling on top of the overpass when a pedestrian sidewalk and three eastbound lanes of Boulevard de la Concorde in Laval collapsed onto Highway 19 at about 12:30 p.m. ET.

    Six adults; four men and two women, from vehicles or pedestrian traffic on top of the overpass were injured.

    Two were listed in critical condition with severe injuries, said CTV's Genevieve Beauchemin: "We're being told officials fear for their lives."

    An update on their condition is expected Sunday.

    Three others required hospitalization. Another, Robert Hotte, suffered minor injuries and was released from hospital Saturday night after being treated.

    Survivor describes ordeal

    Wearing a bandage on his forehead to protect bruising, Hotte described the ordeal he and his girlfriend went through.

    Hotte told CTV Newsnet the overpass gave way beneath their vehicle and "we simply stayed on the bridge, falling down, and at that time my first words were to name my girlfriend ... and then it was all dark and we finished the run with collapsing on the ground."

    The car landed on its side, and Hotte and his girlfriend -- who were still conscious -- had to climb out one of the windows with the help of people who rushed to their assistance.

    "At the time of the fall, in my mind, it was the -- I didn't think of anything special, I mean, it was like I was in a rollercoaster, going down into the dark and wondering what would happen at the end and fortunately enough, we were ok, both of us."

    At least four cars and one motorcycle tumbled down into the gap created when the overpass fell.

    No cries for help or other sounds could be heard from under the slab when emergency personnel first arrived.

    'Like a 50-kilogram bomb'

    Claude Canton, who lives near Highway 19, told CTV Montreal that he was painting his house when he heard a loud bang that sounded "like the explosion of a 50-kilogram bomb."

    Canton said he and others who ran to the scene got two people out of damaged cars and saw two stuck under the rubble.

    One of the trapped cars was on fire, and police put out the flames with extinguishers, he said. Then everyone had to retreat, because the remaining structure was unstable.

    'Falling chunks of concrete'

    The cause of the collapse remains unknown. The overpass was built in 1970 and is owned by the province. Both the province and the city of Laval are responsible for its upkeep.

    Transport Quebec spokesman Mario St. Pierre confirmed the agency received calls about chunks of concrete falling from the overpass at about 11:30 a.m. A crew was dispatched to pick up debris, but the overpass was not shut down.

    Less than an hour later, the structure collapsed.

    He said overpasses and bridges are regularly scheduled for safety inspections, but did not have data at hand on when the last inspection of this overpass occurred.

    Highway 19 connects Laval to the island of Montreal. Traffic is being rerouted from the normally busy artery.

    With reports from CTV's Jed Kahane, Genevieve Beauchemin and files from CTV Montreal's Paul Karwatzky and the Canadian Press
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Honorary Flatlander



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