Beijing - Authorities say two passenger buses plunged into a fast-flowing river when a bridge collapsed after two days of heavy rain in a mountainous part of China.
An unknown number of other vehicles and pedestrians were believed to have been crossing the Tongkou River when the bridge fell. It happened before noon on Tuesday in the city of Jiangyou in the western province of Sichuan.
Officials said rescue work was underway, and local fire authorities have dispatched 55 rescuers with six steamboats to search the river 10km downstream.
According to the South China Morning Post which spoke to Mianyang city health officials three people have been rescued from the river - two in serious condition
and one with minor injuries.
People's Daily reported that an initial investigation indicated that flooding at a rate of 7 000 cubic metres per second may be to blame for the collapse.
The two-lane Qinglian Bridge was built in 1967 and a replacement span is under construction. The bridge is about 200m long and 6m wide.
China has been pouring resources into building infrastructure, but many older bridges and dams are of poor quality and urgently need repairs or replacement.