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Ludlow Advertiser:

THE Bridge at Eastham near Tenbury collapsed dramatically this afternoon - and it was watched by a stunned onlooker who says two mini buses narrowly missed disaster straight after.

West Mercia Police went to the scene after a call at 3.30pm - a police helicopter was also scrambled.

There are no reports of any injuries.

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Eye witness Alan Sheldon from Worcester was just 50 yards away from the bridge when he saw it collapse into the water below.

"The first thing I heard was the sound of rock falling into water.

"My first thought was that there had been some kids throwing stones into the water from the bridge.

"But, within a few seconds, the complete left hand span collapsed into the river below and shortly afterwards the middle span also went.

"As far as I could see there was noone on the bridge but shortly afterwards two mini buses turned the corner but were able to stop short of where it collapsed.

Mr Sheldon, 49, an angler works at Worcester Cathedral said it was his first time at Tenbury fishing on the River Teme.

He is a member of he Birmingham Anglers' Association that has a car park at the site for its members.

The bridge was built in 1793 and is a grade II listed building. It has been sealed off by emergency services and bridge engineers are carrying out an inspection.

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Police warned traffic is building up at the scene and advised motorists to take an alternative route.

Ken Pollock, who represents Tenbury on Worcestershire County Council, was quickly on the scene and says the impact will be catastrophic for Tenbury.

"The only way for people to get out of and into Eastham, will be to drive through Tenbury and this will generate a huge amount of extra traffic in the town."

He said that although it was at an early stage he believes the bridge will be closed for many months at least.

He forecasts that the impact will be much greater than when the bridge was closed several years ago to allow Severn Trent to install a water mains.