CHENGDU: Rescuers found two more bodies in the debris of a bridge smashed by fallen rocks early Saturday in southwest China's Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, raising the death toll to six, authorities said Saturday afternoon.
Five of the dead had been identified, said the Wenchuan County Civil Affairs Bureau.
Twelve injured people, five seriously, were being treated in Wenchuan County People's Hospital.
Debris scatter around the destroyed Chediguan Bridge in Wenchuan County, epicenter of last year's May 12th earthquake, in southwest China's Sichuan province Saturday July 25, 2009. [Xinhua]
Vehicles plunged into the Minjiang River when huge rocks washed off by continuous heavy rains from a nearby mountain hit and broke a bridge pier at about 5 a.m., destroying the Chediguan Bridge which they were riding on, said an official with the information center of Wenchuan County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture.
More than 100 meters of the 300-meter-long bridge collapsed, the official said.
At least seven vehicles were found destroyed, including six trucks and one minibus, said the official, adding that all the injured were sent to hospital.
Rescuers said they were not sure how many vehicles had plunged into the river, but added casualties might still rise if more vehicles were found in the river.
The Chediguan Bridge is called a lifeline for the reconstruction of Wenchuan.
The bridge is part of the No. 213 national highway, a major traffic line linking Wenchuan to other areas. The highway, which plays a key role in restoring local tourism and production, was interrupted. More than 10,000 vehicles pass the bridge every day, which reopened to traffic in May.
The accident area is not covered by the communication network, according to the official.