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18 dead, over 50 trapped as under construction flyover collapses in Varanasi

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VARANASI — At least 18 people have died and 50 other are feared trapped under the debris after a portion of an under construction flyover collapsed in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi today,officials said.

18 bodies have been recovered from the Varanasi flyover collapse site, UP Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar told PTI in Lucknow.

“It is feared that several people are buried under the rubble,” an official said, adding rescue teams were at spot to rescue those trapped.

Some vehicles, including a bus, were crushed in the collapse, they said.

The Uttar Pradesh Bridge Construction Corporation was constructing the 2261-metre-long bridge at a cost of Rs 129 crore, officials said. The span which fell today was laid barely three months ago, they added. The portion of the flyover that fell had been laid as recently as February.

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Eight cranes are being used to try to lift the debris and a crane with a 200 tonne lifting capacity is also being called in.

Officials say gas cutters are being used and the first priority is to pull out those trapped.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered an inquiry report in 48 hours and has also directed his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya and minister Neelkanth Tiwari to visit the spot.

“The chief minister has expressed grief and directed the administration to speed up rescue operation,” UP minister Sidharth Nath Singh told ANI.

Agencies

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10 dead, 10 injured in Texas school shooting

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TEXAS — A 17-year-old student armed with a shotgun and pistol has opened fire in a Texas high school, killing nine fellow students and a teacher, injuring other 10, authorities say, in an attack similar to the massacre at a Florida high school in February.

Students said the gunman, identified by authorities as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, first opened fire in an art class at Santa Fe High School shortly before 8:00am on Friday.

Students and staff fled after seeing classmates injured and a fire alarm triggered a full evacuation.

Mr Pagourtzis, was denied bail after he was charged with capital murder and aggravated assault on a public servant.

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Law enforcement officials said they found two homemade explosive devices left at the school during the rampage.

“The suspected shooter also had explosive devices that were found in the school and nearby,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who called the assault “one of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools”.

It was the worst school shooting since the February assault on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a young man with an AR-15 rifle left 17 people dead and prompted a wave of nationwide, student-led protests calling on lawmakers to tighten gun laws.

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