A portion of an under-construction flyover, near the railway station here, collapsed today killing at least 18 persons while more were feared trapped under the debris, officials said.
Eighteen bodies have been recovered from the Varanasi flyover collapse site, an NDRF spokesperson said.
The incident occurred post-noon, officials said adding rescue teams were rushed to the spot.
"It is feared that several people are buried under the rubble," an official said. many vehicles were also crushed in the incident, they added.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressed grief over the incident. He has also set up a three-member committee to probe the flyover collapse, an official said.
The chief minister directed the district administration and PWD officials to take all necessary steps for relief and rescue operations.
CM has announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh for seriously injured.
Local administration was providing emergency services with medical and other teams carrying out rescue work, officials said.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths in the flyover collapse.
Modi said the Uttar Pradesh government was monitoring the situation. It is important to note Varanasi is the parliamentary constituency of the prime minister.
"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," he tweeted.
In another tweet, he said he had spoken with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
"The UP Government is monitoring the situation very closely and is working on the ground to assist the affected," the tweet read.
Naidu too condoled the deaths in the incident in a tweet.
Deputy CM Keshav Prasad maurya visited the spot and said that those responsible for the bridge collapse will not be spared.
A few vehicles and a bus are still under the collapsed structure.
An eyewitness has said that there are people trapped under the debris. He said that four two-wheelers, an auto rickshaw and a minibus were crushed when the flyover collapsed.