Thirty-six people were killed and several were missing after a bus with around 50 passengers crashed through a bridge railing and plunged into a canal in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district on Monday, police said.
Eight injured passengers were admitted at the Baharampur Medical College and Hospital.
The Malda-bound public transport bus fell off the Nalini Buske bridge into the Gobra canal in Balirghat area around 6 a.m.
The bus was partially fished out of the canal by deploying cranes, with hundreds od villagers as also anxious relatives of the passengers gathered on the canal banks.
“Two bodies were found floating in the canal. Later, 34 more people were found dead after the bus was partially lifted from the canal and rescuers managed to enter and extricate the bodies,” said a civic official.
The dead included two children.
Seven bodies have been identified, the police said.
Rescue operations are on.
The bodies were being sent to the Baharampur Medical College and Hospital for post mortem.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rushed to the spot along with Transport Minister Subhendu Adhikari and announced a compensation of Rs five lakh each to the bereaved families. She visited the hospital and spoke to the doctors about the condition of the victims.
She also spoke to some of the injured and assured their kin of the best possible treatment.
She announced compensation of Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh for the injured.
An injured said close to 50 people were in the ill-fated bus that was coming from Shikarpur in Nadia district.
Earlier in the day, angry locals pelted police with stones and torched two police vehicles, accusing them of arriving late for rescue operations. Stones were hurled at a fire tender that was sent there to put out the fire.
Police lobbed teargas shells and baton-charged the protesters.
Primary investigation suggests the driver lost control of the vehicle, the police said.