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42 missing after Maharashtra bridge tragedy, judicial probe ordered

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Meanwhile, bowing to opposition demands, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday announced a judicial probe into the tragedy even as 13 bodies were recovered during the day, some washed out as far as 100 km in the Arabian Sea.

Raigad Deputy Collector Satish Vagal told media persons on Thursday evening that according to details compiled from various quarters, the two Maharashtra State Transport Corporation buses had more passengers than earlier estimates, besides reports of other people missing in various private vehicles.

While the Rajapur-Borivali service had 14 passengers, including some staffers, the Jaigad-Mumbai service had 12 persons, totalling 26.

Besides, a private Tavera vehicle with eight persons has also been reported missing, from which the bodies of two female victims were recovered this morning.

They have been identified as Sevanti Mirgal, whose body was found near Harihareshwar Beach and Ranjana Vaze’s body was recovered from Kemburli coastal village, nearly 80 kms downstream in the sea, besides driver S.S. Kamble’s body which was recovered from Anjarle beach.

Additionally, Vagal said the district authorities have received anxious calls about a Honda City with four persons missing, and another four persons travelling in a three-wheeler still untraceable, totalling to 42.

Transport Minister Diwakar Raote announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to next of kin of each victim, and a compensation of like amount or employment for the families of the staffers who have lost their lives in the tragedy.

Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and other leader demanded a judicial probe into the tragedy and also said the scope of the search operations should be widened since the bodies have been scattered over a large geographical area comprising the Savitri River, the Ambet Creek, Arabian Sea and tiny villages dotting the Konkan coast in the district.

“A judicial inquiry will be held into the tragedy,” Fadnavis said after a discussion on the issue in the assembly.

He said a team of experts from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay has already been sent to the site and the government has ordered a structural safety audit of all old bridges on the Mumbai-Goa Highway.

 

IANS

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Mount Sinabung volcano erupts, spewing a 5,000-metre ash into sky

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Jakarta, Feb 19: The Mount Sinabung volcano in Indonesia’s Sumatra Island erupted on Monday, spewing columns of ash as high as five km into the sky. 

Head of National Volcanology Agency Kasbani stated the hot ash slides were 4.9 km to the southeast of the crater and 3.5 km to the east.

“This is the highest eruption for this year,” he told Xinhua news agency.

However, Kasbani said the ash from the volcano does not disturb flights.

“The ash does not head to Medan city and compounds of Kualanamu international airport,” he further added.

Mount Sinabung volcano had been quiet for four centuries before erupting in 2010. The volcano had also erupted in 2014 and 2016.

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Major 7.5 magnitude earthquake hits Mexico

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People react after an earthquake shook buildings in Mexico City, Mexico on February 16, 2018. (PC- Reuters)

Mexico City, Feb 17: A powerful earthquake shook southern Mexico on Saturday as people fled out of buildings in capital Mexico City when the ground was shaking.

According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake was measured 7.5 on the Richter scale 4 km south of Pinotepa de Don Luis with the epicenter at a depth of 10 km, Xinhua reported.

Strong tremors were felt in Mexico City and quake alarms were triggered in the city.

In a major street near the capital’s Chinatown, the traffic was temporarily halted as crowds of people are gathering outside, checking updates about the earthquake through cellphones.

IANS

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Six people confirmed dead in 6.5-magnitude Taiwan earthquake

A power outage affected 1,900 households and 40,000 households are without water, according to Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation Center.

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A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake jolted waters near Taiwan’s east coast on Tuesday night, killing at least six people and injuring over 200.

The death toll stood at six as of 8:00 p.m. local time on Wednesday with at least 258 others injured in the strong, 6.5-magnitude earthquake, Taiwan’s emergency operation center said in a statement.

The statement said 67 people were still unaccounted for.

The head of Hualien Tzu Chi General Hospital said that six injured tourists from the Chinese mainland are being treated in the hospital, one of whom suffered a severe foot injury while the other is in critical condition.

Local media said that a 45-year-old woman from the Chinese mainland, who was seriously injured in the earthquake, died at 9:00 p.m. local time on Wednesday. However, authorities have yet to confirm the news.

After the earthquake, Director of Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council Zhang Zhijun had a telephone conversation with the head of Hualien, promising to provide emergency assistance and rescue teams.

An emergency response mechanism has also been initiated by the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

According to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC), the earthquake struck waters near Hualien County at around 11:50 p.m. Tuesday at a depth of 11 kilometers.

Photos and videos circulating on social media show collapsed buildings, tilted structures and damaged roads and bridges.

Local media said four buildings including the Marshal Hotel, Yun Tsui building and two residential buildings were among the damaged structures.

The earthquake was followed by a series of aftershocks including several measuring over 5-magnitude.

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A power outage affected 1,900 households and 40,000 households are without water, according to Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation Center.

About 40 roads have been damaged and two bridges, including Qixing Tan, sealed off.

Train service to the city center is still available in Hualien but at a slower speed, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Source : CGTN

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