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Crews use sonar to probe river for vehicles, bodies

CASTELO DE PAIVA, Portugal (AP) — Emergency workers searched with sonar Tuesday for a bus and cars that plunged from a collapsed bridge into a river, killing at least 60 people, including several small children.

Heavy rains raised fears that the swiftly moving Douro River could become even more turbulent, endangering the 50 scuba divers who have been searching the waters for the vehicles.

Portugal began two days of mourning Tuesday. Authorities expected the final death toll to reach 67 — with about half of the victims coming from the nearby village of Raiva.

An 8-month-old boy and a 2-year-old girl were among passengers on a list of 55 people confirmed as having been on the bus or in one of the cars that plunged into the river.

Nine people were from the same family — three children, their parents and their grandparents, the daily newspaper 24 Horas said.

During seven hours of searching Monday, divers managed to retrieve just one body — that of a woman believed to be in her 60s — as hundreds of grieving residents looked on.

About 300 emergency workers were at the scene Tuesday at Castelo de Paiva on the south bank.

"This process could drag out," the secretary of state for internal administration, Carlos Zorrinho, was quoted as saying by the national news agency Lusa.

"No one in good faith can make a forecast" about how long the salvage operation will take, he said.

The double-decker bus — carrying local residents taking a day trip — plunged into the waters when a pillar and a 264-foot section of the bridge crumbled after dark Sunday. Witnesses said two cars also dropped 165 feet into 50-foot-deep waters.

The local mayor, Paulo Teixeira, claimed he had warned the government about cracks in the structure three years ago.

The government, which was responsible for maintaining the 116-year-old bridge, accepted the blame for the accident and promised to pay compensation to the victims' families. Infrastructure Minister Jorge Coelho resigned.