bridge collapse
Search operations underway at the site where at least two buses with about 22 passengers were washed away in flood waters after a bridge collapse on the Mumbai-Goa Highway in Raigad of Maharashtra.IANS

4:30 p.m. IST — Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is currently at the bridge collapse site taking stock of the situation.

12:37 p.m. IST — Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has directed rail officials to "offer all possible help" in the ongoing rescue operations at the bridge collapse site.

Citizens can call the toll free numbers given below for any information about the incident:

Raigad District: 0214-1222001 or 0214-222118 or 0214-1222025

12:27 p.m. IST — "Once SAR operation is done, will conduct audit and take corrective measures if bridge found unfit for travelling purposes," Sheetal Ugale, the District Collector of Raigad, told reporters. 

12:22 p.m. IST — "Centre stands with Maharashtra Govt in this hour of crisis and assures all possible help," Rajnath Singh said in the Lower House of Parliament.

12:18 p.m. IST — "Four NDRF teams comprising 115 personnel, including divers along with 12 boats were immediately rushed to Mahad bridge collapse site," Rajnath Singh, the Minister of Home Affairs, said in Lok Sabha.

12:13 p.m. IST — "Two bodies have been recovered so far," Sheetal Ugale, the District Collector of Raigad, was quoted by ANI as saying.

12:01 p.m. IST — "A team of doctors from central railways & rescue personnel (have been) sent to Mahad bridge collapse site," Narendra Patil, the Chief Public Relations Oof the Central Railway, was quoted by ANI as saying. 

11:42 a.m. IST — Eight divers from the Indian Navy are on their way to Raigad to assist in the search operations for the missing people and vehicles, NDTV reported. An Indian Air Force (IAF) rescue helicopter has also been deployed.

11:10 a.m. IST â€” The Indian Navy has deployed a Sea King 42C all-weather aircraft with a diving team to assist in the search operations. Another Sea King 42B helicopter, which was on another mission, has been diverted to the area.

10:35 a.m. IST â€” "PM Modi spoke to me this morning, (and has) assured all help from Centre. All teams put together (are) trying their level best to locate missing persons," Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was quoted by ANI as saying. "NDRF teams have reached and are carrying out search operations," he added.

10:14 a.m. IST â€” A decades-old bridge on the Mumbai-Goa highway that linked the cities of Mahad and Poladpur collapsed in the Raigad district of Maharashtra around 2 a.m. on Wednesday due to heavy rain. No casualties have been reported yet, but two buses with 22 people on board are missing.

The overflowing of the Savitri river in Mahabaleshwar is being considered the reason behind the collapse of the bridge. According to eyewitnesses and initial reports, two cars and two buses that left from Ratnagiri are missing.

A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team consisting of 50 personnel with four divers has been sent to the spot and rescue operations are under way.

"We rushed one NDRF team to the spot from Pune, team facing some difficulty in reaching due to heavy rains & traffic, will reach shortly. As per initial info some vehicles & people have been swept away. Our team is equipped with deep divers and life saving equipment. Our team will immediately carry out rescue operations as soon as it reaches," NDRF Director General OP Singh was quoted by ANI as saying.

The Indian Coast Guard has deployed Chetak helicopter to look for the missing vehicles. Several cars are also suspected to have been washed away into the river.

Raigad District Collector Sheetal Ugale has not received any report of any casualties, the Financial Express reported, but chances of the vehicles falling into the river are not being ruled out.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis rushed to the spot after being informed about the incident. 

"There were 2 parallel bridges: one is a new bridge and one constructed during the British era. The old one got collapsed. The primary reason seems to be the high pressure caused due to flooding of river Savitri due to heavy rains in catchment of Mahabaleshwar. Traffic on highway is stopped. Administration is ascertaining strength & stability of new bridge. Once confirmed, traffic will be resumed," Fadnavis said in a series of tweets.

The chief minister added that "there is no confirmed assessment about casualties since the area is very dark. Administration will ensure speedy rescue & relief operations."

Meanwhile, the meteorological department has warned of heavy rainfall in Nashik and the coastal areas from Raigad to Sindhurdurg in Konkan over the next 24 hours.

One-way traffic on the new highway bridge has resumed, officials said.