LAHORE – Two people including a truck driver were killed when a pedestrian bridge located on Ring Road near the Harbanspura area collapsed on early Thursday morning.

The pedestrian bridge collapsed when a truck was passing under it. The driver, identified as Rana Sajjad of Sargodha, died on the spot, while the traffic remained suspended for hours.

On getting information of the accident, City District Government Lahore (CDGL) officers, and rescue teams including 1122 and Edhi rushed to the spot. The rescue teams, after a struggle of about two hours, succeeded in removing the collapsed block of the bridge with the help of cranes and other heavy machinery, and brought out two bodies (including that of the truck driver) from the debris. The other body was yet to be identified. Later, the rescue teams removed rubble of the bridge from the road and cleared it for the traffic.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif reached the site and inspected the collapsed bridge. While talking to the media, he said that an inquiry committee had been set up to probe into the matter and it would submit its report to him within 24 hours. “In the light of the inquiry report, strict action will be initiated against those responsible for the collapse of the bridge,” the chief minister warned.

According to the Harbanspura Police, the owner of the construction company of the said bridge, Khalid Rauf Builders and Constructors, has been arrested on the orders of higher authorities and further investigation is underway.

Meanwhile, Lahore Division Commissioner Jawad Rafique Malik and DCO Noorul Amin Mengal also arrived at the spot and monitored the rescue operation. They said that it was a sad incident and facts would be determined after the inquiry report.

While talking to this scribe, the commissioner said that he was not in a position to comment on this incident until the submission of Chief Minister’s Inquiry Team report, which was expected to be submitted by night. However, he added, according to his personal observation there was a chance that the bridge collapsed because of collusion with the truck.

Sources in the CDGL said that the pedestrian bridge was made of concrete and iron, and it collapsed because of some technical fault in the design or construction and not because of the use of substandard material. 

On the other hand, some government officials tried to hold the deceased truck driver responsible for the incident. They said that the pedestrian bridge collapsed when the truck collided with the pillar of the bridge. On the other hand, an eyewitness said that the truck did not collide with any part of the bridge.