, SAO PAULO, Jan 6 – A rain-swollen river swept away a bridge in southern Brazil Tuesday, leaving as many 15 people missing, authorities said.
The civil defense authorities said 11 people were rescued after the mishap but between five and 15 people were missing. It denied earlier press reports that seven people were confirmed killed.
The bridge was on route ERS-287, spanning the Jacui River near Agudo, in Rio Grande do Sul state, O Globo reported in its online edition.
"Part of the bridge collapsed and some people went over to see what was happening. And then the rest of it fell down," firefighter Menardino Weber told O Globo.
Floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains have killed 72 people in Brazil in the past week, with the greatest number of fatalities in Angra dos Reis, a beach city south of Rio de Janeiro.