A portion of the bridge. Telegraph picture
Shillong, March 18: Altogether 39 students and two American missionaries were injured when a hanging bridge at Chithocheng over Didram river near Mendal under Bajengdoba in East Garo Hills collapsed this morning.
According to police, the incident took place when as many as 70 people, mostly students, were walking on the bridge though it could accommodate only 30.
The injured persons were admitted to three hospitals in Goalpara in Assam.
Those who suffered minor injuries took herbal medicines, the police added.
The husband-wife duo missionaries who were injured in the incident have been identified as and Verbor and Marisa Staten.
While Marisa sustained critical injuries in the back, her husband received minor injuries.
The students were from the Riverside Adventist Academy School and the missionaries who were supporting the school, were camping in the area.
The principal of Riverside Adventist Academy School, Malaki Rimsu, said over phone today that after the SSLC examination was over on Friday, the students wanted to bid farewell to the boarders today.
There were many students who were crossing the hanging bridge and it perhaps collapsed because of the additional weight, Rimsu added.
The bridge can accommodate only 30 people at a time and during the incident there were at least 70 people on the bridge, he said.
The East Garo Hills district administration has deputed a senior official to assess the situation and also to visit the hospitals in Goalpara where the injured students are undergoing treatment.
Local legislator John Manner Marak, who is in Shillong, said he would rush to the spot tomorrow morning to assess the situation.
He said the bridge was constructed last year.
The legislator reminded that in a similar incident of collapse of a hanging bridge in Nepal last year, a West Garo Hills student, Hamida Momin, was swept sway by strong current of the Trisuli river near Kathmandu.