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Accident due to fog: 9 dead as bus falls into ditch in West Bengal

Shila Rabidas, an injured passenger, said there was dense fog but the bus was travelling at high speed and even overtaking other vehicles.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2018 15:59 IST
Sreyasi Pal
Sreyasi Pal
Hindustan Times, Berhampore
Bus,Accident,Berhampore
The bus had started around 3:45 am on the Amtala-Berhampore route with about 50 passengers, most of whom were labourers.(HT Photo)

Nine persons died and 20 others were injured when a bus fell into a deep ditch along the road and turned turtle in Begunbari in Murshidabad district of West Bengal before dawn on Saturday.

Eight of the dead have been identified as Aroj Sheikh (52), Mainuddin Sheikh (58), Shanti Mondal (53), Asish Kr. Mondal (46), Rima Rabidas (4), Purnima Roy (58), Taraknath Dutta (43) and Safikul Mondal.

The bus had started around 3:45 am on the Amtala-Berhampore route with about 50 passengers, most of whom were labourers.

Shila Rabidas, an injured passenger, said there was dense fog but the bus was travelling at high speed and even overtaking other vehicles.

“When it reached near Begunbari, it tried to overtake a truck. The driver lost control and the vehicle plunged into a wayside ditch. I don’t know what happened after that,” he said.

The injured were rushed to Beldanga rural hospital where six were pronounced dead on arrival. Two others succumbed at Beldanga block primary health centre while another person died at Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital.

The condition of three passengers is critical.

The administration declared a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families of those dead. It will also bear the cost of treatment of the injured.

After the accident, locals started agitating and in front of the Beldanga police station alleging the bodies of the deceased were sent to Berhampore for autopsy before their relatives could reach the police station.

An angry mob also blocked the NH 34 for an hour.

The accident comes close on the heels of another similar incident in Kharagpur in West Midnapore district where a bus fell into a canal on January 17, killing eight and injuring dozens.

The driver had tried to save a cyclist while overtaking another vehicle.

Ironically, January 17 was the last day of the Road Safety Week observed across the country.

In Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee is personally leading a sustained campaign to promote safe driving.

First Published: Jan 20, 2018 15:59 IST