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Bangladesh: 43 children killed in road mishap

July 11, 2011 22:00 IST

In a tragic accident, at least 43 school children were killed and over 30 others missing after a over crowded truck carrying them plunged into a canal near Bangladesh's southeastern port city of Chittagong on Monday.

Police and witnesses said that the truck carrying an estimated 75 primary school children, aged between nine to 14, as returning home after a football match at a local stadium when it skidded off the road and landed into the canal at Mirresarai area, 240 kilometres southeast of the capital.

"We have counted so far 43 bodies...several more were still missing and the real casualty figure can be higher," Mirersarai police station chief Iftekhar Hossain said while unconfirmed reports put the figure at 50.

At least 15 of the students managed to jump out of the truck and swam ashore and several of them told reporters at a local hospital that they were in a happy mood, singing and dancing as it fell into the ditch, believed to be caused by rough drive by the driver on the narrow country road.

Witnesses said army and navy divers were called out to join fore brigade rescuers as several of the bodies were missing even after the truck was salvaged from the waters.

"The rescuers and local residents retrieved 43 bodies but several more could still be under the water," a television channel reported quoting a police official at the scene.

Chittagong's police chief ZA Morshed said fire service personnel pulled the truck out of the ditch around 4:45pm and no more bodies were found inside the wreckage.

Anisur Rahman in Dhaka
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