A view shows the flyover which collapsed in Kolkata, India. Reuters
A view shows the flyover which collapsed in Kolkata, India. Reuters

Ten dead, 150 feared trapped in Kolkata flyover collapse



KOLKATA // Fourteen people were killed and another 70 were injured in Kolkata on Thursday when a flyover under construction collapsed onto traffic moving along the street below, police said.

Firefighters and residents tried with their bare hands to rescue those trapped under the wreckage that came down near Girish Park in a teeming commercial district.

Indian television footage from the scene showed a bloody hand reaching out from under what appeared to be a huge girder. People were trying to hand bottles of water to survivors pinned underneath.

“The condition is pathetic. At this moment no one has any clue how many people are trapped,” said Raichand Mohta, a police officer at the scene.

A witness said paramedics worked to free people from a minibus that was crushed in the collapse.

There was little sign of a coordinated rescue operation, with access for heavy lifting equipment restricted by the proximity of buildings on either side of the flyover and heavy traffic.

The flyover has been under construction since 2009 and has missed several deadlines for completion.

* Reuters

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'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

Coffee: black death or elixir of life?

It is among the greatest health debates of our time; splashed across newspapers with contradicting headlines - is coffee good for you or not?

Depending on what you read, it is either a cancer-causing, sleep-depriving, stomach ulcer-inducing black death or the secret to long life, cutting the chance of stroke, diabetes and cancer.

The latest research - a study of 8,412 people across the UK who each underwent an MRI heart scan - is intended to put to bed (caffeine allowing) conflicting reports of the pros and cons of consumption.

The study, funded by the British Heart Foundation, contradicted previous findings that it stiffens arteries, putting pressure on the heart and increasing the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke, leading to warnings to cut down.

Numerous studies have recognised the benefits of coffee in cutting oral and esophageal cancer, the risk of a stroke and cirrhosis of the liver. 

The benefits are often linked to biologically active compounds including caffeine, flavonoids, lignans, and other polyphenols, which benefit the body. These and othetr coffee compounds regulate genes involved in DNA repair, have anti-inflammatory properties and are associated with lower risk of insulin resistance, which is linked to type-2 diabetes.

But as doctors warn, too much of anything is inadvisable. The British Heart Foundation found the heaviest coffee drinkers in the study were most likely to be men who smoked and drank alcohol regularly.

Excessive amounts of coffee also unsettle the stomach causing or contributing to stomach ulcers. It also stains the teeth over time, hampers absorption of minerals and vitamins like zinc and iron.

It also raises blood pressure, which is largely problematic for people with existing conditions.

So the heaviest drinkers of the black stuff - some in the study had up to 25 cups per day - may want to rein it in.

Rory Reynolds

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