Bridge Collapse in Indonesia Kills 3 - Number Set to Rise

A congested bridge collapsed on Saturday in Indonesia, leaving three people dead and scores of men, women and children injured, according to reports.

Witnesses explained that they saw many people swimming away from the crippled bridge and they recalled piercing screams as they looked on, helpless to do anything.

The bridge connects the busy towns of Tenggarong and Samarinda in the East Kalimantan province. It was clogged with traffic when the accident took place a witness told local station TVOne.

Capt. Syafii Nafsikin said search and rescue teams rushed to the scene but many had been trapped in their cars and others swept away in the current.

“The death toll could climb”, he said, adding that many people were believed to be injured.

"Everyone was screaming," said Syaiful, he said he saw at least one bus and a dozen motorcycles plunge into the Mahakam river and survivors swimming to the shore in panic. Several cars were just a mass of twisted metal.

The Indonesia Today website reported about 100 people were taken to a local hospital.

The website said that the 770 yard bridge was known locally as "Kalimantan's Golden Gate Bridge."

Indonesia Today reported the bridge was built between 1995 and 2001 by state-owned construction firm PT Hutama Karya.

This is not the first time people in Indonesia have been killed and injured due to a bridge collapsing. Back in July of 2010 a suspension bridge in the town of Banda Aceh collapsed killing twelve Indonesian children as they were taking part in a traditional ceremony to dispel bad luck.

According to reports there were about 37 kids gathered together on a wire-cable suspension bridge when it collapsed and they fell into a river.

Twenty-five children were rescued with minor injuries but 12 others, all under the age of 12, were swept away by the strong currents.