At least 39 people were killed and 23 injured after a state transport bus in which they were travelling fell from a bridge into a river in Gujarat’s Navsari district on Friday, police said. The bus, carrying over 65 passengers, was on its way to Ukai in south Gujarat’s Tapi district from Navsari. It fell into Purna river after crashing into the iron railing of the bridge, killing nearly 36 people and injuring several others who were admitted to different hospitals in Navsari. The fire department and health department officials and police rushed to the spot and started rescue operation.
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Expressing grief over the incident, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has announced Rs 4 lakh compensation to the kin of each of the deceased. She tweeted, “Deeply pained to learn about the unfortunate bus accident on Purna River Bridge in Navsari. My prayers are with victims & families.” The CM tweeted, “I have directed Navsari collector & concerned officials to expedite rescue & relief ops and provide required help to victims & their kin.”
The passengers included students, employees working in different private and government offices. The accident happened just before the Gurukul Supa bridge on Purna river. The driver lost control and the bus broke the railing and fell from a height of 60 feet into the river.
Sources said that the incident came into light when a passerby witnessed it and informed Navsari police. Navsari Collector Remaya Mohan, Superintendent of Police M S Bharada and other top officials reached the spot, along with medical teams and fire department. Residents of Supa village also rushed to the spot after learning about the incident. Over a dozen ambulances were rushed to the site, along with services of private cranes to pull the bus up. Local villagers dived into the river to rescue and retrieve bodies.
Navsari District Collector Remaya Mohan said, “We have started rescue operations. So far, 39 passengers have been declared dead. Their bodies are at Mulla hospital and Civil hospital. Many other passengers are severely injured and they are undergoing treatment in other hospitals.” SP Bharada said the number of casualties was likely to rise.
(With PTI inputs)