The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rescued a construction worker who was washed away by strong currents in the Brahmaputra, into which he fell accidentally while working on a bridge near the Saraighat bridge here.

An NDRF team was searching for the bodies of seven students of a picnic party who were feared dead in a boat tragedy on New Year’s Day. Though the divers failed to locate either the bodies or the boat, they swung into action after spotting the construction worker, Munna from Bihar. He was taken to the NDRF hospital in the Border Security Force camp at Patgaon on the outskirts of the city.

The search for the missing students — three girls and four boys — was carried out in a 30-km radius of the point where the boat capsized around 4.30 p.m. on Friday.

Earlier, 10 members of the picnic party, including the boatman, were rescued by local fishermen and other boatmen. The river police and the NDRF team, which later joined the rescue mission, had to abandon their efforts due to dense fog and darkness.

The boatman and some of the rescued students gave conflicting versions of what happened. The boatman claimed that the students — all from the Bangshar Higher Secondary School at Bangshar in lower Assam’s Kamrup district — had insisted that all of them be ferried in the small boat in one trip.

One of the rescued girls, however, said she did not get into the boat as water was seeping in through a leak on the floor, but the boatman encouraged her, insisting that he would transport them safely to the other bank.