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Four people arrested over deadly bridge collapse near Patra

Police on Sunday arrested the safety manager and three other employees of a construction company in connection with the collapse of a section of a motorway bridge at the entrance to the city of Patra, in southern Greece, that killed one person and injured at least 12 more.

Four of those injured were in serious condition. They were all transferred to the hospitals in Rio and Aghios Andreas.

The bridge had structural problems and repair work had begun in 2021. The section that collapsed had been closed since July 20 for maintenance work following a decision of the Achaia police department. It was slated for demolition on Sunday but part of it collapsed unexpectedly crashing onto a group of people standing beneath it.

A search and rescue was underway to find other people underneath the rubble, with 35 firefighters, two EMAK disaster response teams and rescue dogs. Five ambulances and one mobile ambulance unit was also in standby at the scene.

Athens-listed construction company Avax SA, who has undertaken he demolition, said in a press release that despite closing the bridge to traffic and the safety measures taken, people who were not involved with the work there ended up on the site and were injured (one of them fatally) by parts of the bridge that collapsed.”

Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Nikos Tachiaos, told state-run broadcaster ERT “there were questions, such as whether all safety measures were observed” at the particular construction site.

He said the bridge fell unexpectedly and even dragged down two machines, without injuring their operators.