SAITAMA – A truck driver died Saturday after part of a bridge being dismantled on the border of Saitama and Gunma prefectures fell onto the vehicle after he bumped into it, trapping him inside, the police said.
According to investigators, the truck was transferring dirt and sand in the morning from the construction site for the Jobu Ohashi Bridge, which connected Fukaya in Saitama Prefecture with Isesaki in Gunma.
Police suspect the driver, who had the bed of the truck raised, was driving under the bridge when he made contact, causing a 50-ton chunk of it to fall onto the cab. It took rescuers about nine hours to free the driver but he was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured.
The portion of the bridge that fell was about 50 meters long and weighed about 52 tons, police said.
According to the fire department, rescuers had difficulty extracting the man because the bridge fell onto the driver’s seat. Rescue efforts continued after dark, with heavy machinery deployed to keep the bridge from collapsing.
A new bridge to replace the Jobu Ohashi Bridge opened at the end of August.