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Driver of truck that crashed into pedestrian bridge, causing its collapse, dies

Man was trapped for hours under slabs of concrete as paramedics tried to reach him; authorities work into the night to clear structure

Rescue workers and police at the scene of where part of a pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a truck on Route 4 near Givat Shmuel, August 14, 2017. (Moti Karelitz/Flash90)
Rescue workers and police at the scene of where part of a pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a truck on Route 4 near Givat Shmuel, August 14, 2017. (Moti Karelitz/Flash90)

The driver of a truck that crashed on Monday evening into a concrete pedestrian bridge in central Israel, causing it to collapse, died of his wounds.

He was trapped inside the truck’s cabin for several hours as rescue personnel tried to reach him amid the large slabs of concrete.

The 60-year-old driver was eventually found lifeless and was pronounced dead on the scene.

Paramedics initially said they believed a second person was trapped inside the cabin, but that possibility was ruled out after rescue workers were able to reach the cab.

Magen David Adom first responders said they heard the voice of someone inside the cabin when they first arrived on the scene, but were unable to reach the person.

The Elhanan bridge, a pedestrian thoroughfare linking the towns of Bnei Brak and Givat Shmuel, appeared to be empty at the time of its collapse.

An initial investigation revealed that the truck had a mounted crane and part of it apparently opened while the vehicle was travelling on Route 4 near Tel Aviv before slamming into the bridge, which immediately buckled on the truck. The entire south-facing lane of the highway was blocked by a huge segment of the bridge that had fallen on the road.

Soon after arriving, the paramedics were removed from the site by fire department officials worried that the truck could give way under the weight of the bridge and cause additional segments to collapse. They were later allowed to return.

Rescue workers were working to move parts of the structure and the truck was towed. They are expected to work into the night.

Traffic in both directions was blocked and police have asked drivers to find alternative routes.

Bridge collapsed on Highway 4, near Bnei Brak, August 14, 2017. (Magen David Adom)
Bridge collapsed on Highway 4, near Bnei Brak, August 14, 2017. (Magen David Adom)

In a similar 2013 incident, a truck driver was trapped and killed in his vehicle, after he hit a pedestrian bridge in Kfar Saba.

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