The 116-year-old metal bridge at Entre-os-Rios linked the towns of Castelo de Paiva and Penafiel in Portugal. One Sunday evening, 4 March, a bus with locals on excursion and two cars were swallowed up by the river when the bridge collapsed.
The 200-meter long bridge is believed to have collapsed after one of its support pillars gave way due to prolonged heavy rain fall. Parts of the structure crashed in the river, taking the vehicles with it. More than 70 people died.
The collapse of the bridge resulted in a political crisis for Antonio Gueterres 5-year socialist rule. The morning after the accident the minister for Public Affairs, Mr. Coelho, along with his entire staff of five persons, resigned. Mr. Coelho had been the president’s right hand and his resignation contributed to the people’s dissatisfaction with the president.
It did not get any better when it came out that the mayor had warned the government about the miserable state of the bridge several times. The locals had long been afraid of crossing the bridge and two months before the accident they blocked roads nearby, demanding that the government build a new bridge.
The government had actually planned to build a new bridge, which was supposed to be finished the year before the accident. But it never happened and the government kept telling the public that its construction would have to wait “a few years more”.
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