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Seven Bodies Found Following China Bridge Collapse
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Seven bodies -- five men and two women -- have been recovered following a bridge collapse in south China's Guangdong Province, but police said three of them were not victims of the accident.


After a forensic examination, doctors concluded that one of the victims had died five or six day ago and was not a victim of the collapse. Another two bodies were also excluded.


The other four bodies are being identified and some family DNA samples were collected on Tuesday for analysis and confirmation, according to a government spokeswoman.


Rescuers said the river was very high and salvage operations were difficult.


A seven-ton, 9,000-watt electromagnet with an attraction force of 30 tons has been used to try to pull out the missing vehicles but in vain.


An official from Guangdong Maritime Affairs Bureau explained the vehicles could have been been swept downstream by the swift-flowing water. Rescuers have expanded the search region to 8,000 meters downstream from the collapsed bridge.


A boat laden with sand steamed out of the main river channel about 5:10 a.m. last Friday and hit a pillar of a bridge connecting Jiujiang Township in Nanhai district of Foshan City to neighbouring Heshan City, causing 200 meters of the 1,600-meter-long bridge to collapse.


Sections of the collapsed bridge fell onto the bow of the boat, partially submerging it. All 10 crew members were rescued, and two were treated in hospital for bruises and discharged.

Six crew members, including the captain, have been detained by maritime police.


Video from traffic monitors shows four vehicles carrying seven people on the bridge at the time of the accident. Two bridge workers were also on the bridge when it collapsed.


Local authorities announced Monday that one of the nine missing people has been confirmed to be Wei Zheng from south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.


On Monday, Guangdong Provincial Department of Transportation spokesman Zhang Yuanyi said that repair work would soon begin on the damaged bridge. 

(Xinhua News Agency June 20, 2007)

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