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Monday, September 19, 2016

35 killed as bus plunges into pond in Madhubani

Madhubani/Patna: At least 35 people died as the bus they were travelling in fell into a pond on Benipatti-Sitamarhi road near Basaith village under Benipatti police station area in Madhubani district around noon on Monday.
State Disaster Management control room in Patna confirmed that according to State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) team working in resuce operaiton at Madhubani 35 bodies had been fished out. "The SDRF team is still working to fish out other bodies, if any, in the water," said an official at the control room. 

 However, Madhubani DM Giriwar Dayal Singh said according to his information only 16 bodies had been fished out. Police sources said four people could be rescued but several passengers were still missing till the last report came in. 

"We expect more deaths as locals say the bus was packed with over 60 passengers," said Benipatti SDO Rajesh Parimal, adding that search operation was on and the bodies fished out of the pond by the NDRF and SDRF personnel were sent to the sadar hospital for postmortem. He said police were trying to ascertain the identity of the deceased with help of local people and some of the passengers' relatives who had reached the spot and the sadar hospital. 

 The bus, which belonged to a private operator, was going from Madhubani to Sitamarhi. The administration could not ascertain the reason behind the accident, but sources said the bus driver lost control while trying to avoid a road diversion on state highway-52 near the reservoir, which is known among the locals as 'Sonhauli Moin'. Benipatti BDO Abhay Kumar said, 

"They could not do much as there was no crane to take out the submerged bus immediately out of the deep water." The local administration tried to pull the bus out with the help of a heavy earthmover, but failed as the wires tied to the bus repeatedly snapped. Even after three hours of the accident, no rescue team of experts had reached the spot. 

There was no crane available in the district and the administration had to procure one from neighbouring Darbhanga. It took four hours to reach the site. "We were forced to retreat as the locals started pelting policemen with stones," said Benipatti SHO Madan Prasad. Sources said local police were forced to fire at least two rounds in the air to disperse the agitating mob. 

They also said DM Giriwar Dayal Singh sustained minor injuries in the stone pelting and he was forced to leave the spot. Madhubani SP Deepak Barnwal said four police personnel also sustained injuries, but denied that the DM was injured and police fired in the air to control the crowd. He said the rescue operation was hit due to non-availability of a crane. "One team each of NDRF and SDRF stationed in Darbhanga and an additional SDRF team from Sitamarhi were deployed in the rescue operations," the SP said.

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