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Brazil bridge collapses after ferryboat crash on Moju River

By Daniel Uria

April 7 (UPI) -- A section of a bridge in Brazil's northern stat of Para collapsed into the Moju River after colliding with a ferryboat.

Para Gov. Helder Barbahlo shared footage of the collapsed bridge on Twitter and signed a declaration of emergency at the site of the bridge on Saturday night.

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"Our priority is searching for victims and giving complete support to their families," Barbahlo said.

Witnesses said cars plummeted into the water after the ship crashed into one of the pillars supporting the bridge, but it wasn't immediately clear how many people were hurt, the BBC reported.

Scuba divers were searching the river for victims and five of the ship's crew members were said to have survived the crash.

Authorities are working to clear the river of debris from the bridge, which led to one of Brazil's busiest ports in Belem.

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A number of barges were also set up to ferry people across the river until the bridge can be fixed.

An inspection of the bridge earlier this year showed its pillars had begun to corrode, but it wasn't considered a serious enough issue to grant emergency funds requested by the government to fix them.

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