45 killed as bus with schoolchildren falls into canal

April 16th, 2008 - 2:35 pm ICT by admin  


Ahmedabad, April 16 (IANS) A Gujarat state transport bus carrying about 50 schoolchildren fell into the Narmada main irrigation canal in Vadodara district early Wednesday. The bodies of 45 victims, including the conductor, have been recovered, officials said. The accident occurred at about 6 a.m., 70 km from Vadodara, when the bus from Vag-Bhod village was on its way to Bodeli, according to Vadodara fire brigade officials.

Most of the children were between eight and 10 and were going to appear for an examination. Five children survived the accident, four of whom managed to swim to safety. They have been admitted to Vadodara civil hospital.

Sources told IANS that soon after the accident locals recovered nine bodies. The other bodies were found with the help of fire brigade personnel. Many bodies had floated downstream, far from the accident site.

Authorities stopped the water flow in the Narmada canal, which was gushing 40,000 cusecs, to help the rescue operations.

Twenty-four of the dead children were from Navjivan school while 18 were students of Sirola school and two were enrolled in Maa Bhagwati school in Vag-Bhod.

Bodeli is in the tribal belt of Vadodara district.

Sources in the chief minister’s office told IANS that Rs.100,000 compensation has been announced for the families of the children killed.

The Vadodara district education officer has also announced compensation of Rs.50,000 under an insurance scheme initiated by the state government.

A committee set up by the education officer will probe the accident. Two ministers will visit the accident site later Wednesday.

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