Bengal trawler tragedy toll rises to 42 (Lead)

November 1st, 2010 - 5:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kakdwip (West Bengal), Nov 1 (IANS) With deformed bodies being fished out one after the other from Muriganga river, the toll in the West Bengal trawler tragedy climbed to 42 Monday, two days after the vessel capsized. A large number of people are still missing.

“The death toll right now is 42,” South 24-Parganas police superintendent L.N. Meena told IANS.

As more than 48 hours have passed since the trawler capsized in the river near Ghoramara island, 150 km south of Kolkata, all the bodies that were fished out were bloated.

Search operations, which were halted Sunday night due to darkness, resumed Monday morning with divers from the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard and the Kolkata Port Trust working tirelessly despite a strong water current and low visibility due to a cloud cover.

Police sources said the divers were approaching the spot where the trawler capsized - in the mouth of Muriganga river where it empties into the Bay of Bengal - from East Midnapore and South 24-Parganas district.

Two of the bodies were swept away 20 km before locals found these at Nayachar in East Midnapore district, said Zila Parishad president Ranjit Mondal. Two more bodies were recovered by Coast Guard near Ghoramara.

The trawler ferrying nearly 200 people, mainly Muslim pilgrims, to Kakdwip in South 24-Parganas from Hijli Sharif in East Midnapore district capsized Saturday morning in the mouth of Muriganga river.

Around 51 people have been rescued so far, of whom 32 are admitted to the Kakdwip sub-divisional hospital. About a hundred people are still missing.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Sunday held a high-level meeting at Kakdwip and reviewed search operations. Later on Sunday, Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee visited the area and met the family members of victims.

A helicopter and a hovercraft have been deployed to help in the search.

Hundreds of people are thronging the Kakdwip sub-divisional hospital and the banks of the Muriganga in search of their near and dear ones.

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