A minibus jumped off the Bankim Setu, a flyover that runs over the railway tracks near Howrah Station, killing at least 10 people, including two women.
Seven others were injured and hospitalised.
The bus, which was trying to overtake another, fell 50 ft and the victims were crushed to death under the impact. Train services were disrupted for five hours. Rajdhani Express left 24 minutes late. Local trains were disrupted..
The authorities — fire brigade, police and rescue teams — arrived at the spot soon.
Police Superintendent of Howrah, Niraj Singh said: “We will inquire why the bus was speeding and whether it was overtaking another vehicle or just speeding away. We are looking for eyewitnesses.”
At 3.40 p.m passengers on platforms 11 and 12 heard a loud crash as the minibus (a mid-sized bus used for public transport in Kolkata) broke through the flimsy cement railing of the bridge and crashed down on the railway tracks below.
There was a bright flash, as the bus tore through the high-tension railway wires. The agonized cries of its passengers filled the air. The bus was mangled completely out of shape.
Manik Das, Deputy Station Manager, Howrah Station, was one of the people who watched the bus fall from the bridge.
“I was standing on platform No. 9 when I heard a loud noise. I saw the bus crash through the railings and plunge below. It turned turtle after hitting the ground.”
As a crowd gathered around, there was fear of electrocution as high-tension wires, torn free by the accident, were lying loose on the ground. It took the station authorities 5-7 minutes to switch off the electric connections.
Passengers, hawkers and coolies then rushed forward to help the victims and dragged the bodies out.
This is the third major accident on Bankim Setu.