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NEW DELHI -- At least 35 people have been killed after a passenger bus crashed through an old bridge and plunged into a deep canal connected to a river in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal Monday, police said.
The accident occurred at Daulatabad in Murshidabad district, some 220 km from the state capital Kolkata.
"The bus, carrying some 50 people, broke through the railing of the bridge and fell into the canal connected to Jalangi river after its driver lost control of the speeding vehicle while swerving to avoid another vehicle," a senior police official said.
So far, 35 bodies, including those of women and children, have been fished out of waters, including those who got trapped inside the bus, while some injured passengers were admitted to a nearby government hospital, the official said. "Some six people swam to safety," he added.
The bus was going to Malda district from Karimpur in Nadia district via Murshidabad when the accident occurred.
Local TV channels showed dramatic footage of the bus being lifted from the canal bed with the help of three hydraulic cranes under the supervision of the National Disaster Management Force personnel, who brought out bodies one after another from inside the bus.
Earlier in the day, local police had to charge batons and lobby tear gas shells to control a huge crowd that had gathered around the accident scene and attacked cops with stones alleging that they arrived late. They even set two police vehicles afire.
"Some of the survivors told us that the driver was driving at high speed while talking on mobile phone on the bridge. A probe has been ordered into the incident," the official said.
State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited the accident spot. She has condoled the deaths and announced a compensation for the kin of those who had died in the accident.
This is the third bus accident in the state in the past two weeks. On Jan. 17, eight people were killed when a bus fell into aadobe customized gift box canal near Kharagpur in West Midnapore district. And nine people died when another bus fell into a ditch in Murshidabad district three days lat[MG_SEO]er.
India has one of the highest road fatalities in the world. Road accidents occur mostly due to poor driving or badly maintained roads and vehicles.