Two passengers were killed and at least 42 feared drowned after a Punjab roadways bus fell into a canal near Sirhind in Fatehgarh Sahib district of Punjab in the wee hours on Wednesday, the police said.
The ill-fated bus was on its way from Delhi to Amritsar when the mishap took place around 2 am, police said. The bus was swept in the gushing canal water about three kilometers downstream before getting stuck at Saundh headworks from where Bhakra Main Line Canal and Narwana Canal get separated, officials said.
Before plunging into the canal, the bus broke the railing along the national highway close to the floating restaurant near Sirhind. Official sources said at least 45 passengers had boarded the bus from Delhi late Tuesday night.
Two bodies have been fished out from the canal waters, Fatehgarh Sahib Senior Superintendent of Police Gurmeet Singh Chauhan said. The bus had been pulled out of the canal with the help of cranes, the police said.
Meanwhile, authorities have sounded an alert along Bhakra Main Line canal, Narwana canal and Sirhind feeder so that the bodies of other passengers could be fished out after being located.
The police and civil administration, along with divers, including from the army, are involved in search operations as it is expected that the bodies could have been swept up to some 30 kms in the canal, officials said.
Unconfirmed sources said between 40 to 45 passengers were feared drowned. However, the SSP said it was too early to confirm the death toll in the mishap.