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Bengal bus mishap toll rises to 42

Most of the victims were trapped inside the bus which plunged into a canal from a bridge on Monday.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2018 20:26 IST
Sreyasi Pal
Sreyasi Pal
Hindustan Times. Behrampore
Bus accident,Bengal bsu tragedy,Murshidabad
The bus which fell into Ghogra Canal in Murshidabad on Monday being pulled out. (AFP)

The death toll in the bus accident in Behrampore in Bengal rose to 42 on Tuesday with rescuers retrieving six more bodies from the canal where the vehicle plunged Monday morning.

But till Tuesday midday there was no official statement on the number of deaths. On Monday night, district magistrate P Ulaganathan said “A total of 36 bodies were brought to the morgue.”

The National Disaster Response Force and Disaster Management Group personnel had recovered 36 bodies from the vehicle on Monday. Most of the passengers who died were trapped inside the bus. Among the dead was the driver, who, survivors claimed was talking on his mobile phone when he lost control of the bus.

Nine people who managed to swim out of the bus were rescued by local boatmen and are undergoing treatment at Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital.

Locals suspect about 10-12 bodies could still be trapped in the mud in the canal.

Forensic experts are expected to reach the accident spot at Balirghat to examine the vehicle.

Berhampore MP and state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury who returned from New Delhi to his constituency last evening raised questions on the roadworthiness of the bus and held the state government responsible for the tragedy.

“A few months ago when Trinamool Congress wrested Berhampore municipality from the Congress, the state government ‘gifted’ the old bus – after applying a coat of paint – to the civic body. The municipality does not have the infrastructure to run buses, so it gave the bus on lease to another Trinamool leader. I have doubts whether the vehicle had permission to run on the road and whether the driver had a driving license. The state government is solely responsible for the accident,” Chowdhury alleged.

First Published: Jan 30, 2018 14:14 IST