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6 schoolchildren die as bus falls into canal
Raman Mohan & Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Bags lie in the open after being retrieved from a school bus that plunged into a canal near Sonepat on Tuesday
Bags lie in the open after being retrieved from a school bus that plunged into a canal near Sonepat on Tuesday. Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Bali Kutubpur (Sonepat), August 1
Six schoolchildren were killed and two injured seriously when a school bus plunged into Old Western Jamuna Canal here this morning. As many as 21 children survived the mishap.

The deceased include three boys and an equal number of girls. They have been identified as Ankush, Vishal, Jatinder, Priyanka, Monika and Manisha. While Priyanka was a sister of Ankush, Manisha was sister of Jatinder. They were all residents of this dusty hamlet of Sonepat district. They were all aged between five to 15 years.

The injured have been admitted to Dhanker Hospital at Gannaur where their condition was said to be improving. The driver of the bus, Sanjay, is also undergoing treatment in the same hospital.

The accident took place around 7.15 a.m. when the driver of a bus belonging to the Satkumbha Vidya Mandir of the nearby Kheri Gujar village lost control of the vehicle when a bullock cart suddenly appeared in front of the bus from the banks of the canal.

In an attempt to avoid a collision the driver of the bus tried to swerve the bus to the left and ended up in the canal flowing to capacity. The number of casualties could have been more had the bus not been caught between the two piers of the bridge on the canal.

The first to rush to the scene were farmers working in the nearby fields. Tractors were rushed to the spot by the villagers. The villagers first fished out the survivors from the bus and later pulled the bus out with the help of tractors. By the time the first rescue team arrived with a fire engine, the villagers had fished out the bodies.

Jagdeep, a resident of the village who was among the first to reach the spot, said one child had jumped out of the bus before it plunged into the canal. He raised the alarm catching the attention of the farmers in the fields.

The Deputy Commissioner of Sonepat, Neerja Shekhar, said although the exact number of children in the bus was not known, but no child had been reported missing.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Yogendra Nehra, said as a precautionary measure public announcements had been made in the nearby villages asking residents to approach the authorities if any child was reported missing.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda rushed to the spot by helicopter in the afternoon. He was accompanied by Congress MPs Deepender Hooda and Jai Parkash. They inspected the site and later met the affected families in the village.

Mr Hooda announced an ex gratia grant of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceased. He also ordered a probe into the accident. He lauded the rescue effort mounted by the villagers.

Chandigarh: Various political parties have expressed grief over the death of six children in a bus accident in Sonepat district this morning.

The working president of the Haryana Congress, Dr Ram Prakash, expressed sympathy with the bereaved families.

The President of the Indian National Lok Dal, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, has mourned the death of the schoolchildren. He also demanded an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the bereaved families and adequate help and assistance to the injured.

The INLD Secretary-General, Mr Ajay Singh Chautala, MP, visited the accident site, homes of the affected families and hospital, where the injured children were being treated.




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