Bus plunges into river in B`desh; 40 feared dead

At least one person died on Sunday and 40 others were missing in Bangladesh after a bus packed with passengers lost control and plunged into a swollen river near here, officials said.

Last Updated: Oct 10, 2010, 21:28 PM IST

Dhaka: At least one person died on Sunday and
40 others were missing in Bangladesh after a bus packed with
passengers lost control and plunged into a swollen river near
here, officials said.

Around 50 passengers were on board the bus which lost
control as it approached a bridge on its way to Savar from
here. The bus then plunged into the Turag river trapping some
40 passengers inside at Amin Bazar area near Dhaka, they said.

Army troops and navy divers joined the rescue campaign
along with fire service divers. But the hours of salvage
operations in strong currents of the river appeared futile as
the rescuers even could not locate the bus under 30 feet water
in and around the accident scene.

"We are continuing the search campaign using search
lights," a Major of the army engineers` corps, who was
overseeing the rescue operations, told PTI.

Police and witnesses said eight passengers swam ashore
or were rescued by residents at the neighbourhood but one of
them, a female student of Jahangirnagar University, was
declared dead at a nearby hospital as she was rushed there.

Monwara Akhtar Tara, a third year microbiology student
who as going to the university, was later identified by her
father at the Enam Hospital in Savar.

An eyewitness said the bus skidded off the road as its
driver visibly lost control over the wheels.

"The bus sank immediately in the river which was
swollen following the past several days of heavy downpour and
onrush of waters from upstream regions," he said.

Hundreds of people, including relatives of the missing
passengers, assembled near the accident site. Communications
Minister Abul Hossain visited the area and asked rescuers to
continue the salvage operations mobilising extra equipment for
the search.

He directed officials concerned to call out more army
troops and navy divers with required logistical supports to
intensify the salvage campaign.

Local residents complained the scene of the crash was
identified as an accident-prone area long ago as 30 passengers
died two years back exactly at the same spot when a bus was
carrying them to Dhaka from Savar.

"The road is curved at the scene and it does not have
any guarder while the bridge was narrower compared to the
width of the Dhaka-Aricha Highway, the factors which expose
vehicles to crashes," a Savar-based journalist said.

PTI