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17 missing in Brazil bridge collapse

At least 17 people were missing after a bridge collapsed due to floodwaters in southern Brazil, authorities said. The rain-swollen Jacui River on Tuesday brought down a bridge near Agudo in Rio Grande do Sul, where people had gathered to see the rising waters, police Col. Joao Carlos Trindade Lopes told radio Gaucha.

world Updated: Jan 06, 2010 14:25 IST

At least 17 people were missing after a bridge collapsed due to floodwaters in southern Brazil, authorities said.

The rain-swollen Jacui River on Tuesday brought down a bridge near Agudo in Rio Grande do Sul, where people had gathered to see the rising waters, police Col. Joao Carlos Trindade Lopes told radio Gaucha.

The officer said that between 25-30 people fell in the water and emergency services units were able to pull eight of them. Another five people who kept from falling in the water by hanging onto trees and brush were rescued from the riverbanks.

Agudo Mayor Ari Anunciação said on radio Gaucha that the situation was "very grave" and that the strong current was impeding rescue efforts.

In recent weeks the central area of Rio Grande do Sul state has seen heavy downpours and high winds that devastated several cities.