Rescue workers made valiant attempts to fish out bodies of victims of the bus accident that claimed at least 36 lives today. Thousands of people gathered on banks of the Ghagra canal throughout the day where the ill-fated state roadways bus lost control and fell off a bridge into the canal early today. Dense fog had enveloped the area and most of the passengers were asleep when the accident took place. The driver of the bus was allegedly speaking over his mobile phone when the accident took place. It took almost eight hours for the rescue team to locate and pull out the bus from the deep water canal using huge cranes, official sources said. Family members of those killed thronged the Murshidabad Medical College morgue to identify their near and dear ones. As many as 32 bodies were retrieved from the bus after it was lifted from the canal.
“Of the 36 dead, the bodies of 25 were identified,” state transport minister Subhendu Adhikary said. Several country boats were used to conduct the search operation that stretched over a vast area of the canal. The rescue team, which comprised the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Management team and local administration and police besides locals, called off the operation at around 9.45 pm because of poor visibility. The search operation will resume tomorrow morning. Deep water divers from NDRF were part of the rescue operation. “It is very dark and quite cold out here. We tried to continue the rescue operations but the visibility was so low that it cannot be continued,” a senior officer of the state disaster management team said.