Odishatv Bureau

Uttar Pradesh: At least 16 people have reportedly been killed after a portion of an under-construction flyover collapsed in Varanasi’s Cantonment area today.

"16 bodies have been recovered, 3 persons were safely rescued," Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said to ANI.

The death toll in the mishap is expected to rise as over 50 persons are feared trapped under the rubble, several news agencies reported.

Though the exact reason behind the collapse is still unclear, it is suspected that the mishap occurred after one of the pillars collapsed near Cancer hospital in Sigra. The flyover being built was supposed to connect Varanasi Cantt Railway Station with Lehertara, sources said.

"I was at a distance of 50 metre from the flyover when it collapsed, trapping people under it. 4 four-wheelers, an auto-rickshaw & a minibus were crushed by it. The help came after an hour," an eyewitness said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the tragic incident and tweeted, "Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to the collapse of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi. I pray that the injured recover soon. Spoke to officials and asked them to ensure all possible support to those affected."

A massive operation has been launched to rescue the people trapped under the rubble.

5 fully-equipped teams of NDRF (250 jawans) have rushed to the spot of accident, in Varanasi, said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

"5 teams of NDRF (250 jawans) with full equipment rushed to the spot of accident, in Varanasi. Compensation of Rs 5 lakh for kin of those dead and Rs 2 lakh for seriously injured in the incident," tweeted Yogi Adityanath.