Eight people rescued from gorge after bridge collapses in Bavaria
One person has died, and another is still missing, after a bridge collapsed at Höllentalklamm in Bavaria, on the slopes of the Zugspitze – the highest mountain in Germany.
Floodwaters wash away wooden bridge in Bavaria
On Monday, police in Bavaria revealed that a major rescue operation was underway after a bridge was swept away by floodwaters in the Höllentalklamm gorge, near the southern town of Grainau. A tidal wave ripped through the gorge after long periods of severe weather and heavy rain, sweeping people into the water.
Eight people were rescued on Monday. A police spokesperson said that they were soaked and hypothermic but otherwise fine. However, eyewitnesses said that two people, who were standing on the wooden bridge when it collapsed, were still unaccounted for.
More 160 people were deployed in the rescue effort, including specially trained canyon rescue operatives and a technical relief team. Four helicopters equipped with thermal imaging cameras were also in use, but the search had to be called off on Monday once night had fallen.
On Tuesday, it was confirmed that rescue operatives had found the lifeless body of a woman in the water - presumed to be one of the two missing people.
The search continues
The search for the final missing person continues, with rescue operatives looking for anything that could help locate them, such as scraps of clothing or personal belongings, under the collapsed bridge. A criminal investigation is also underway, with officers trying to discern the identity of the woman, as well as the circumstances surrounding her death.
The head of the rescue operation, Hans Steinbrecher, told reporters that the difficult conditions in the gorge are making it hard for rescue operatives to carry on with the search. “In the gorge itself, nobody can enter the water – not even the rescuers,” he said. “That would also be fatal for them.”
Germany has been devastated by floodwaters in recent months, with almost 200 people losing their lives in the floods that devastated western Germany. Bavaria was also hit by floods, with one person reported to have lost their life in the southern state.