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Gujarat: 41 children among 44 killed in bus mishap
Sailesh Pandya in Bodeli (Gujarat) | April 16, 2008 10:56 IST
Last Updated: April 16, 2008 18:19 IST
At least 44 students, including 32 girls, were killed when a bus carrying them fell into the 60-foot deep Narmada canal in Vadodara district on Wednesday morning.
"Forty-four bodies, most of them of children, have so far been fished out from the canal," said Deputy Superintendent of Police Vadodara (Rural) Amit Vishwkarama.
The rescue operations are on at the site amidst chaos as hundreds of people, including parents and relatives of the victim,s gathered to find out about the students.
Out of the 44 killed, 41 are students (32 girls and nine boys), while the three adults include the driver and conductors.
The accident took place at around 6.30 am, when the driver of the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation bus lost control. The vehicle broke the railings of the bridge on the canal on the right side and fell into it.
The canal was filled up to 4.6 meters, due to which the bus got submerged in the water and even the rescue team took a while to locate it, eyewitnesses said.
People from the nearby villages started the rescue work after the accident. Jakir Hussain, resident of a nearby town, said that he, along with his friends, fished out bodies of 25 students. "This is a humanitarian work for us and we do not think in terms of religion at the time of such mishap," he said.
The students mainly belong to the nearby villages and were going to appear for their last examination paper in Bodeli, which is the taluka headquarters.
Nineteen students of Bamrol village died in the accident while eight students of Patan Pittha also lost their lives.
Sardar Sarovar Project authorities decided to immediately stop the supply of water to the Narmada main canal and brought the level of the water from 4.6 meters to 2.6 meters to help rescue operations, Chief Project Engineer S Srinivas said.
Three cranes were pressed into service to pull the bus (GJ-18-U 3677) out after the water level was reduced, the district administration said.
Four students were rescued alive from the canal and they have been admitted to a hospital in Bodeli.
The officials said that they will continue the search operation till dusk as more bodies are likely to be found from the canal.
Jayesh Patel, who lost his niece Sejal studying in class VII, said, "This is the worst accident I have seen in my entire life. Bodies of so many students have shocked me."
Bodeli town and nearby villages remained closed due to the incident and exams were also cancelled in all the schools.
Vadodara DSP Amit Vishwakarma said that all the 44 bodies recovered so far have been identified and returned to their families after post-mortem.