'Hanging by a thread': Bridge collapses and breaks in half just as officials cut inaugural ribbon
The small bridge was aimed at helping people cross a river that often swelled up during the rainy season
KINSHASA, CONGO: A brand new Congolese bridge collapsed right as suited dignitaries and officials were inaugurating the structure by cutting a ribbon. The small structure was built with the intention of helping local residents of Kinshasa's Mont-Ngafula cross a river that would swell and turn dangerous during the rains.
The bridge was a replacement of another old structure which had a reputation of collapsing often and was not serving the purpose it was meant for. Videos of the incident showed organizers gathering around to celebrate the opening of the bridge. However, their happiness was soon replaced by terror right after the ribbon was cut as the bridge collapsed, with both the handrails breaking off. The central section fell into the water only a short distance below.
The new bridge gave down under the weight of the people standing on it as soon as one of the delegate members used the scissors to cut the ribbon. The female official jumps to safety and is rescued as soon as the bridge starts to crumble. Other male delegates, though, were still clinging to the bridge. Before the bridge entirely sinks into the water, the rescue crew arrives quickly and saves the other.
As the VIPs scrambled to escape, onlookers yelled with what appeared to be joy. People were observed being helped to safety by locals and military as others climbed up the riverbanks. According to reports, no one was injured in the event. One of the last people to climb free was a man in military fatigues and dark glasses who was clutching an unopened bottle of champagne. On the internet, some have made jokes about how the bridge was only held together by the ribbon.
The video of the bridge collapsing has gone viral on social media. While many online users have criticised the administration, others have ridiculed the subpar construction. The video has gone viral on social media and has garnered over 40,000 views. Reports said that the authorities who were trapped on the collapsed bridge were freed just in time.