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

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

  • Nearby houses shake as huge lorry nearly falls into river when bridge collapsed in Norway during rush hour
  • A helicopter was needed to pull the truck driver out of his vehicle, with another car driver able to climb out
  • The bridge opened in 2012 and was inspected just last year, raising fears other crossings could be vulnerable
  • One resident said: ‘The house shook. I rolled up the blinds […] and looked right at a bridge laying in the river’

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A 485ft-long bridge in Norway collapsed during rush hour this morning, sending a lorry and a car plunging toward the water below.

Police were called just after 7.30am local time to attend the fallen Tretten Bridge, central Norway, which crosses the Gudbrandsdalslaagen River.

Both drivers were rescued and doing well, police said.

A helicopter was needed to pull the lorry driver out of his sunken vehicle, which sat in an almost vertical position on a collapsed section of the bridge raised at an angle out of the water.

The immense bridge made of wood and steel was built just a decade ago, but two vehicles fell as it collapsed earlier today

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

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

The bridge is just a decade old, having opened in 2012.

‘It is completely catastrophic, completely unreal,’ mayor Jon Halvor Midtmageli told newspaper Dabgladet. 

‘It is also a fairly new bridge.

‘It is completely destroyed, everything has fallen down,’ he added.

A helicopter was needed to retrieve the truck driver, who was lucky to survive the 'catastrophic' collapse during rush hour

A helicopter was needed to retrieve the truck driver, who was lucky to survive the ‘catastrophic’ collapse during rush hour

The driver of the car (pictured perched just above the rapidly flowing river) was able to climb out of his car and to safety

The driver of the car (pictured perched just above the rapidly flowing river) was able to climb out of his car and to safety

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

‘We who travel on the roads must be able to trust that the bridges are safe to drive on,’ the organisation’s spokeswoman Ingunn Handagard told the Norwegian news agency NTB.

The cause of the collapse was not immediately known.

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration demanded an independent investigation.

Local authority workers look on as the river flows violently into the fallen, 485ft-long bridge in central Norway today

Local authority workers look on as the river flows violently into the fallen, 485ft-long bridge in central Norway today

Chunks of wood became unstuck from the concrete pillars they were attached too, seemingly under the weight of the lorry

Chunks of wood became unstuck from the concrete pillars they were attached too, seemingly under the weight of the lorry

‘It must be safe to drive on Norwegian roads. That is why it is important to get to the bottom of this case,’ said the administration’s head, Ingrid Dahl Hovland.

Atle Formo, who lives by the Tretten bridge, said he heard ‘an intense crash’.

‘The whole house was shaking. I was rolling up the blinds in the bedroom and looked right at a bridge laying in the river,’ he told Norwegian broadcaster TV2.

Terrifying images showed the wood and steel bridge entirely wrecked, seemingly under the weight of the lorry

Both drivers walked out of the catastrophic incident miraculously unscathed this morning

Terrifying images showed the wood and steel bridge entirely wrecked, seemingly under the weight of a lorry. Both drivers walked out of the catastrophic incident miraculously unscathed this morning

A similar nearby bridge in Sjoa in the Gudbrand valley, also made of glued laminated timber, collapsed in 2016.

The driver of a lorry who was crossing the bridge at the time was slightly injured.

Following that collapse, 11 similar bridges, including the one in Tretten, were temporarily closed by the government body that is in charge of Norway’s infrastructure.

The agency said in a report about the 2016 collapse that ‘the direct cause of the bridge collapse is a defective joint in the framework’.

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