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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2007, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Deadly bridge collapse in Vietnam
Scene at the site of the collapse of the Can Tho bridge
Dozens are said to be still trapped under the rubble

A bridge under construction in south Vietnam has collapsed, killing at least 36 workers and leaving many more injured, officials have said.

The collapse took place in Can Tho, some 170 km (105 miles) south of the commercial centre of Ho Chi Minh City.

Rescue teams are looking for survivors said to be trapped under the rubble. It is not clear what caused the collapse.

The bridge was being built over the Hau River at a cost of $300m and was expected to be finished next year.

About 250 people were working on the bridge when a section buckled at about 0800 (0100 GMT), the official Vietnam News Agency reported.

Hospital officials reported 36 dead, but a contractor with a Chinese company working on the bridge told Reuters news agency that 60 people were killed.

Manh Hung, a worker witnessed the accident, said workers heard a very loud noise at one end of the bridge.

Vietnam map

"Workers started shouting. The scene was terrible as a giant concrete block fell onto so many people working underneath," he is quoted as saying by the VNExpress newspaper website.

It is thought dozens of people are still trapped under the collapsed structure.

"They are using machinery to cut and lift the concrete," a police official in nearby Vinh Long told Reuters.

"It is very difficult to reach the bodies and there is also danger of further collapse."

Construction on the Japanese-funded 2.75 km (1.7 mile), four-lane suspension bridge started in 2004.

It was designed to enable people to travel across the Hau River - a tributary of the Mekong River - instead of taking a ferry.

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