Bus plunges into canal in Bengal

Bus plunges into a deep canal, A passenger who survived the accident said the driver who was talking on a mobile phone, lost control of the bus on a bridge in Daulatabad of Murshidabad district of Bengal Monday morning.

The body of one passenger has been recovered but it is not clear how many people were on board the bus that had sunk in the canal which is connected to the Jalangi river, a tributary of the Hooghly.

Locals rescued four others from the canal. One of those rescued told TV channels that the driver was speaking on his mobile phone when the accident happened.

Locals said there were many passengers on the bus and there are virtually no chances of anybody being alive.

The bus was traveling from Domkal to Murshidabad. The accident happened around 8:30 am but locals claim that full-fledged rescue operations did not begin until 9:30 am.

Angry at the delay in rescue operations, locals set fire to a police vehicle and damaged two others and the area quickly into a virtual battleground between the villagers and the police. Local also alleged that divers were not pressed into service even an hour after the accident.

But a local Trinamool Congress leader insisted that rescue operations were on track.

“The administration is taking all steps including deploying cranes to pull out the bus from the water. The place was a bit remote and therefore, the delay,” Trinamool Congress leader Shoumik Hussain told the media.

Monday’s accident comes close on the heels of two other bus accidents in Bengal. On January 17, eight people were killed and many others were injured when a bus fell into a canal near Kharagpur in West Midnapore district.

On January 20, nine people died when another bus fell into a ditch in Begunbari in Murshidabad district.

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