Tragedy struck at the construction of a motorway bridge on the Jánovce – Jablonov section near Kurimany in East Slovakia on Friday afternoon, after the bridge collapsed, killing 4 workers and seriously injuring another 15.
Workers who survived the collapse of the 50 m section of the motorway told how it started to crack before folding in at the centre, but the exact cause is now the subject of an inspection by two independent teams. The section was being filled in with concrete at the time, and although the inspection results will not be known for at least a month, the support structure was apparently insufficient for the load.
Rescue workers quickly arrived at the scene, getting the injured and the dead out of the rubble, but the accident would prove fatal for four young workers. The site is now swarming with around 20 work safety inspectors, who hope to find the cause. One of the companies working on the bridge is no stranger to collapses, after a bridge it was constructing in the Czech Republic also collapsed in 2008.
Five people from the company, Bögl a Krýsl, are still facing possible charges in the pending case, which saw eight people die after a bridge built by the company collapsed on a railway track. The eight dead, and almost 100 injured, were passengers on an oncoming train, which smashed into the bridge. Some licensed appraisers claim the construction was at fault.
This didn’t stop the Slovak Republic concluding contracts with the company, which will now surely be under close scrutiny given the odds of two of its bridges collapsing. The National Motorway Company (NDS) signed the contract for the collapsed section with a consortium of Bögl a Krýsl and Vahostav. What’s more, Bögl a Krýsl recently won a contract worth about EUR 240 million for the modernisation of railway tracks.
According to SME daily, nobody is taking blame for the catastrophe, with the buck being passed around like a hot potato. Bögl a Krýsl says its sub-contractor Semos was responsible for the work, while Semos puts the blame on the company Skruže Weise SK.