A bus packed with around 50 riders crashed through a bridge and plunged into a river in West Bengal's Murshidabad this morning. Four people have died and many remain missing. As local people raced to the rescue, an angry crowd hit out at the police, accusing them of arriving late. Facing a stone-throwing mob, the police used tear gas shells and batons.
Four or five survivors pulled out of the river said the driver was talking on the phone when he lost control of the bus. The bus broke through the railing of the bridge, which was said to be old and dilapidated, and fell into the river. Some of the passengers swam to safety, said witnesses.
Locals rushed with small boats to rescue whoever they could. By the time the police arrived with cranes, a huge crowd had gathered. The crowd threw stones at the policemen, overturned police vehicles and even set two on fire. Fire engines were also targeted with stones. Police had to use tear gas to disperse the angry mobs. People complained that there were no divers to help with the rescue.
A huge police force is now at the spot, trying to lift the bus from the river with cranes. The rescue was tough, said the administration, because the river was too deep. Condoling the deaths, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced Rs. 5 lakh for the kin of those died in the incident.
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