6 die as school bus falls into river in Goa
Seven people, including six children, died on Saturday when a school bus plunged into the Kalvi river in Aldona village, 30 km from Panaji.india Updated: Feb 19, 2012 00:58 IST
Seven people, including six children, died on Saturday when a school bus plunged into the Kalvi river in Aldona village, 30 km from Panaji.
The bus carrying over a dozen school children and a woman caretaker plunged into the river near Aldona ferry wharf when its brakes failed. Officials said seven bodies have been fished out, and the number of casualties is likely to rise.
The police said they did not have the exact number of children on board the bus. But according to witnesses, there were around 20 children in the bus.
The driver and conductor jumped out of the vehicle as it fell. “The driver jumped off somehow and ran away,” said Agustino D’Souza, a witness.
Soon after the mishap, rescue operations were initiated with the help of local and marine police, the navy, the coast guard and the army. Three Chetak helicopters and 10 divers assisted with canoes by locals managed to extricate seven people almost two hours after the accident.
The vehicle was pulled out of the river and search is on to trace the missing children who are feared drowned, director general of police Kishan Kumar said.
Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat announced compensation for the families of the deceased. The government also ordered a magisterial probe. Kamat admitted to a delay in rescue and salvaging operations because the required crane was not available near the site.
“All the carnival festivities, which are to begin today (Saturday), have been cancelled. The government will also provide R2 lakh ex-gratia to the families of the deceased,” Kamat told reporters.