Rescue Effort Underway for Hundreds Trapped at WV Mall, Officials Say

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) — A rescue effort is underway for roughly 500 people who became trapped inside a West Virginia mall when the bridge connecting the shopping center to the adjacent main road collapsed and washed away, officials told ABC News.

Both employees and customers have been trapped inside the center — located in Charleston — since around 4 p.m. Thursday, according to Rick McElhaney, assistant deputy director with Metro 911 in Kanawha County.

The river is currently cresting around the shopping center and first responders are planning to rescue those stranded once it is daylight, McElhaney said.

McElhaney said they most likely will have to rescue everyone by helicopter.

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