36 killed as bus falls into deep canal in Murshidabad

Rescue works under way on Monday.  

At least 36 people died when a bus carrying over 50 passengers fell into a deep canal in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district, about 300 km north of Kolkata in the early hours of Monday.

The North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) bus was travelling from Karimpur in Nadia district to the Malda district.

The incident took place in the Daulatabad area near the Domkal subdivision of the district.

The bus plunged into the canal after breaking the railing of a bridge. Soon, it sank into the deep waters of the canal and was not visible for several hours. A few survivors were rescued mostly by locals with boats in the initial hours after the accident. Only four bodies were found initially.

Thousands of people gathered at the site of the accident. The tardy pace of rescue work provoked rage. Two vehicles were damaged in clashes that ensued with the police.

It took several hours for National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel to pull the bus out of the water with four cranes.

After dusk, when large parts of the bus had been recovered, they managed to enter the vehicle. Later in the evening, 32 bodies (20 male, 10 female and two children) had been recovered from the ill-fated vehicle. By the late hours of Monday evening, altogether 36 bodies had been recovered.

The tardy pace of the rescue work provoked an irate mob to set fire to a police vehicle.

The tardy pace of the rescue work provoked an irate mob to set fire to a police vehicle.  


Solatium announced

The bodies of the deceased were taken to the Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who left for Murshidabad in the morning, visited the site of the accident and met bereaved family members in the hospital later in the evening.

“It is a very big and unfortunate accident. We have arranged vehicles for family members of the deceased to carry the bodies. The doctors have assured me that they will work overnight for conducting post-mortem of the bodies,” she said at the hospital.

The CM announced a compensation of ₹5 lakh to the nearest of the kin of the deceased, ₹1 lakh for the critically injured, and ₹50,000 to victims with minor injuries.

Chairperson of the Domkal Municipality Soumik Hussain said that the bus was carrying about 56 passengers. “Nine people have survived the accident. There are still a few missing. Rescue operations will carry on overnight,” he added.

It was long wait for family members of passengers who had taken the ill-fated bus. After news of the accident spread, they first gathered near the rescue site with photographs and photo identification documents. Once the bodies were recovered, they rushed to the Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital.

Survivors blame driver

At least two survivors blamed the driver of the State-run bus service for the accident.

“He was speaking over telephone with one hand and managing the steering with the other. Suddenly, there was a loud noise and the bus was in water,” one of the survivors said from his hospital bed.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 6:00:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/bus-falls-into-canal-breaking-bridge-railing-in-west-bengals-murshidabad-many-feared-dead/article22548647.ece

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