At least 36 dead as bus plunges off bridge in eastern India

The bus driver, who also died in the accident, lost control while trying to overtake another vehicle

Kolkata: At least 36 people were killed in eastern India’s West Bengal state on Monday after a speeding passenger bus swerved off a bridge and plunged into a river, police said.


Initial investigations and witness accounts said the bus driver, who also died in the accident, lost control while trying to overtake another vehicle on the bridge.

The bus crashed into the bridge’s side railing before plummeting 12 metres into the local Bhairav river.

“Rescuers have retrieved 36 bodies so far. Nine passengers have been hospitalised,” state’s transport minister Subhendu Adhikari told AFP.

Rescue workers believe that there were more than 50 passengers on the bus at the time of the accident.

The rescue work at the accident site in Murshidabad district, around 300 kilometres from the state capital Kolkata, was ongoing late Monday evening. 

“We fear that some of the passengers were swept away as glass windows of the vehicle broke (on impact),” Adhikari said.

The victims include at least nine women and four children.

The bus lay submerged on the riverbed until emergency workers dragged it to a riverbank.

The rescue workers then used steel cutters to cut open the mangled vehicle and retrieve victims’ bodies.

At least 32 people were killed in another road accident after a bus plunged into a river in western Rajasthan state this December.

India has some of the world’s deadliest roads.

More than 150,000 people are killed each year with most accidents blamed on poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.

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