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At least nine people, including five children, drowned in two incidents in Vaishali and Samastipur districts of Bihar on Sunday, police said. While six picnickers died after falling into the Ganga river in Vaishali, three women drowned in the Baghmati river when a boat capsized in Samastipur district, they said. The police had earlier in the day said that nine people had drowned in Vaishali.
However, Naseem Ahmed, the in-charge of Fatuha police station, who visited the spot, said, “Three men, who were pulled out of the water and whom we had thought to be dead, turned out to be alive during medical examination.” The six deceased, five children and a woman, were from Dariyapur in Fatuha sub-division of Patna district and they belonged to two families. The incident happened when they had gathered atop a mound formed by silt near Mastan Ghat for a Sunday picnic, Ahmed added.
“Prima facie, one of the children fell into the river and the others jumped into the water to rescue the drowning child and lost their own lives,” he said. Six bodies have been fished out so far, said Ahmed. Patna District Magistrate Sanjay Agarwal, who had earlier informed that eight bodies were recovered, said, “The number of bodies recovered is six.”
Agarwal and Vaishali Superintendent of Police Rakesh Kumar said the search is on for at least two missing people. “The bodies have been brought to Fatuha for post-mortem examination after which they will be handed over to the family members,” Ahmed said. Expressing grief over the deaths at Mastan Ghat, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceased, the CMO said in a release.
Meanwhile, in Samastipur district, the police said three women drowned in the Baghmati river when a small boat carrying over 12 people capsized. While some people swam to safety, five were rescued, said Ajit Kumar, the Deputy Superintendent of Police in-charge of Rosera sub-division.
Locals jumped into the river and fished out the bodies of the three women, aged between 20 and 30 years, he said. “All those in the boat were involved in the business of cattle-rearing. They cross the river routinely to collect fodder,” Kumar said.
The boat capsized near Madhurapur Dharmpur Ghat. Divers have been pressed into service to check for more persons, he said. The rescued people were taken to a local primary healthcare centre.