The Waiho bridge over a river in New Zealand’s South Island has been washed away in a severe rainstorm, prompting the authorities to declare a state of emergency. The storm battered the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, forcing the closure of 300km of a road due to flooding, according to media reports.
Footage shown on local television and distributed on social media showed part of the Waiho Bridge, near the town of Franz Josef, breaking off in torrential river flooding and swaying loosely in the rushing water, with the remaining sections soon collapsing. About 50 people, mostly tourists, were staying at a makeshift emergency centre in a local hall to see out the storm. There were no reports of injuries.
In a short video posted on Facebook, Westland mayor Bruce Smith declared a state of emergency and said the storm was expected to continue for another day.
The Waiho Bridge has been raised three times since 2002 after flooding left sediment that lifted the river’s floor, media reported.
Image for illustration.