BEIJING — Three people were pulled from a raging river but six others remained missing following a bridge collapse Tuesday in mountainous western China amid heavy flooding that has forced thousands to evacuate their homes.
The official Xinhua News Agency said one sedan, three minivans and one SUV fell into the torrent when the more than 40-year-old Qinglian bridge broke apart just before noon in the city of Jiangyou in the western province of Sichuan.
The local government said in a statement posted to its official website that an earlier report that a pair of passenger buses had plunged into the river was incorrect.
The two-lane bridge was completed in 1969, according to Xinhua, and a replacement span is under construction. China has been pouring resources into building infrastructure, but many older bridges and dams are of poor quality and urgently need repairs or replacement.
China's Civil Affairs Ministry announced Tuesday that flooding in Sichuan since Sunday has affected an area that is home to 360,000 people, damaging or destroying 300 homes, and forcing 6,100 to evacuate.