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For week ended March 19, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 04Apr00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Two Buses of LDS Members, Missionaries Were On Bridge That Collapsed
Honduras This Week 13Mar00 D1
By W.E. Gutman

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS -- A temporary Bailey-type bridge connecting the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa with its sister city, Comayaguela, collapsed early in March, endangering 98 LDS Church members and missionaries on two buses on the bridge. The bridge, constructed by the U.S. military last year to replace the Juan Ramon Molina bridge washed away by Hurricane Mitch, collapsed as the busses, two trucks, a taxi, a pick-up truck and a jeep combined to exceed the 40-ton weight limit on the bridge by 20 tons.

Police Sargeant Rafel Jimenez described the collapse. "The bridge was swaying like a hammock. People were crawling out of their vehicles, screaming. If the bridge had collapsed minutes later, there would have been many victims, many dead." Fortunately, no one died in the bridge collapse. 19 were wounded and were transported to the Escuela Hospital, where all were recorded in satisfactory condition. Honduran President Carlos Roberto Flores visited the wounded at the hospital.

The two buses of LDS Church members, including 8 missionaries from both the U.S. and from Central America were headed for Juticalpa, Olancho, a city located about 100 miles from Tegucigalpa. The report doesn't say why the buses where headed there.

News reports noted that the concrete-embedded anchors at the ends of the bridge were buried less than 1 1/2 feet deep in unstable earth, hinting that this may have contributed to the bridge's collapse. The U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa has expressed the U.S. Government's regret for the accident, blaming it on excess weight on the bridge. Meanwhile, Japanese Ambassador Masateru Ito announced that Japan would build a permanent bridge on the site begining in September.


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