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

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.

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