Overpass collapse kills at least 21, traps dozens in India

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Officials say the death toll has risen in the collapse of an overpass in east India. (KTRK)

Rescuers in Kolkata dug through large chunks of debris from an overpass that collapsed while under construction Thursday, killing at least 21 people and injuring scores of others in trapped cars, trucks and other vehicles, officials said.

Army troops joined efforts to rescue those trapped inside vehicles that lay under massive concrete blocks and metal debris. Huge cranes and other rescue vehicles reached the site to clear the rubble.

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News scenes show the aftermath of a deadly overpass collapse in India

The Press Trust of India news agency, quoting police sources, put the death toll at eight. More than 40 injured were admitted to two hospitals in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal state, hospital officials said.

"The area was very, very crowded. Motorized rickshaws, taxis ... there was a lot of traffic," one witness told the New Delhi Television news channel, or NDTV.

Another added: "We heard a loud rumble and then saw a lot of dust in the sky."

PHOTOS: Dozens trapped in deadly India overpass collapse

Television images showed the bloody legs of some of the trapped people jutting out of the collapsed girders and concrete slabs

In addition to army troops, personnel of the National Disaster Response Force also worked on the scene in Bara Bazaar, a busy residential and shopping area in central Kolkata.

O.P. Singh, the NDRF chief, said the operation was a "very, very challenging task."

Building collapses are common in India, where builders use poor enforcement of regulations and use substandard materials.

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