The toll in Monday’s incident where a bus plunged into Bhagirathi river in Murshidabad district increased to 42 with six more bodies being recovered Tuesday. The police said the bodies were fished out from different points along the river. Sources said five people are still missing. “Six more bodies have been found today, the rescue operation will continue,” Additional Superintendent of Police (Murshidabad) told The Indian Express.
The Malda-bound bus with at least 56 passengers on board crashed through the railing of the Balighat bridge and fell into the river around 6 am on Monday. At least 36 bodies, including those of children and women, were recovered
Alleging a delay in rescue operations, angry local residents had set a police vehicle on fire and vandalised two others. Police lobbed teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to control the situation.
Some passengers who were rescued told reporters that the driver of the bus was talking on the phone while driving. “The bus driver was talking on mobile phone and was handling the steering wheel using only his left hand, and suddenly it rammed into the railing of the bridge and fell into the bus,” the passengers said.
The rescue operation was undertaken by police and NDRF officials. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia for the families of the deceased, Rs 50,000 for those with minor injuries and Rs 1 lakh for those with critical injuries. The chief minister Herself was on spot assisting rescue operation left along with Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari and Additional Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay.