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Huge bridge crashes down into Norwegian river with drivers somehow surviving ‘catastrophic’ collapse

Huge 485-foot bridge of wood and steel crashes into Norwegian river just ten years after opening with drivers somehow surviving ‘catastrophic’ collapse as they crossed

  • Nearby houses shake as huge truck nearly falls into river as bridge collapsed in Norway during rush hour
  • It took a helicopter to pull the truck driver out of his vehicle, while another driver was able to climb out
  • The bridge opened in 2012 and was inspected last year, raising fears that other crossings could be vulnerable
  • One resident said, “The house shook. I rolled up the blinds […] and looked straight at a bridge that lay in the river’

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A 485-metre-long wood and steel bridge in Norway collapsed during rush hour this morning, sending a truck and car plunge to the water below.

Police were called just after 7:30 a.m. local time to attend the fallen Tretten Bridge, central Norway, which crosses the Gudbrandsdalslaagen River.

Both drivers were rescued and are now doing well, police said.

It took a helicopter to pull the truck driver out of his sunken vehicle, which was standing almost vertically on a collapsed section of the bridge lifted diagonally out of the water.

The immense wood and steel bridge was built just ten years ago, but two vehicles fell when it collapsed earlier today

The immense wood and steel bridge was built just ten years ago, but two vehicles fell when it collapsed earlier today

The wooden and steel bridge broke at both ends and the huge panels broke from the concrete pillars to which it was attached

The wooden and steel bridge broke at both ends and the huge panels broke from the concrete pillars to which it was attached

The wooden and steel bridge broke at both ends and the huge panels broke from the concrete pillars to which it was attached

It took a helicopter to pick up the truck driver, who was lucky enough to survive the 'catastrophic' collapse during rush hour

It took a helicopter to pick up the truck driver, who was lucky enough to survive the 'catastrophic' collapse during rush hour

It took a helicopter to pick up the truck driver, who was lucky enough to survive the ‘catastrophic’ collapse during rush hour

The driver of the car managed to get out of his vehicle and to safety.

The nearly 150-metre-long bridge connects the western bank of the Gudbrandsdalslaagen River and the village of Tretten.

The bridge is only ten years old and opened in 2012.

“It’s completely catastrophic, completely unreal,” Mayor Jon Halvor Midtmageli told Dabgladet newspaper.

‘It’s also a fairly new bridge.

“It has been completely destroyed, everything has fallen down,” he added.

The driver of the car (pictured just above the fast-flowing river) was able to climb out of his car and get to safety.

The driver of the car (pictured just above the fast-flowing river) was able to climb out of his car and get to safety.

The driver of the car (pictured just above the fast-flowing river) was able to climb out of his car and get to safety.

The entire center section of the bridge plunged into the river, with the two vehicles at each end making a happy escape

The entire center section of the bridge plunged into the river, with the two vehicles at each end making a happy escape

The entire center section of the bridge plunged into the river, with the two vehicles at each end making a happy escape

The Norwegian Automobile Federation said the bridge was last checked in 2021, raising concerns about the safety of such bridges.

“We who travel by road must be able to trust that the bridges are safe to drive on,” spokeswoman Ingunn Handagard of the organization told the Norwegian news agency NTB.

The cause of the collapse was not immediately known.

The Norwegian Public Roads Agency demanded an independent investigation.

Local government workers watch as the river flows violently into the fallen, 485-foot bridge in central Norway today

Local government workers watch as the river flows violently into the fallen, 485-foot bridge in central Norway today

Local government workers watch as the river flows violently into the fallen, 485-foot bridge in central Norway today

Pieces of wood came loose from the concrete pillars they were also attached to, apparently under the weight of the truck

Pieces of wood came loose from the concrete pillars they were also attached to, apparently under the weight of the truck

Pieces of wood came loose from the concrete pillars they were also attached to, apparently under the weight of the truck

“It should be safe to drive on Norwegian roads. That is why it is important to get to the bottom of this matter,” said the head of the administration, Ingrid Dahl Hovland.

Atle Formo, who lives near Trettenbrug, said he heard “an intense bang.”

“The whole house was shaking. I rolled up the blinds in the bedroom and looked straight at a bridge that crossed the river,” he told Norwegian broadcaster TV2.

Terrifying footage showed the wooden and steel bridge completely destroyed, apparently under the weight of the truck

Terrifying footage showed the wooden and steel bridge completely destroyed, apparently under the weight of the truck

Both drivers miraculously escaped the catastrophic incident this morning

Both drivers miraculously escaped the catastrophic incident this morning

Terrifying footage showed the wooden and steel bridge completely destroyed, seemingly under the weight of a truck. Both drivers miraculously escaped the catastrophic incident this morning

A similar nearby bridge in Shoa in the Gudbrand Valley, also made of glued-laminated timber, collapsed in 2016.

The driver of a truck that was driving over the bridge at the time suffered minor injuries.

After that collapse, 11 similar bridges, including the one in Tretten, were temporarily closed by the government agency responsible for Norway’s infrastructure.

The agency said in a 2016 collapse report that “the direct cause of the bridge collapse is a faulty connection in the framework.”

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