Morbi bridge tragedy: Search operation called off, death toll remains at 135
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Jalpaiguri (WB): Search and rescue operations are being carried out in full swing on Thursday for people swept away in flash floods in the Mal river in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district.

Eight bodies have so far been recovered, an official said.

Jalpaiguri police superintendent Debarshi Dutta said that during idol immersion in the river on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami, flash floods occurred at around 8.30 pm on Wednesday, sweeping away some people.

“Search and rescue operations are on for the missing people,” he told reporters.

The deceased persons included an eight-year-old boy and a girl, aged 13, the official said, adding that among the other six were three women.

Despite light rain occurring in the area, search and rescue operations have begun in the early morning after remaining halted for some hours during the night owing to low visibility, he said.

Idol immersion of several community Durga pujas at Malbazar in Dooars area was being held in Mal river when the tragic incident happened.

Fifteen people, who received injuries, were admitted to a nearby hospital, the official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the incident.

Anguished by the mishap during Durga Puja festivities in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones, the Prime Minister’s Office said on Twitter.

State Backward Class Welfare Minister Bulu Chik Baraik, who is the MLA from the Mal Assembly constituency, feared that the death toll may increase.

Though there has been little rain in the area for the last few days, downpour has been reported in the higher reaches and in the Bhutan hills.

Mal river originates in the hills, and the water accumulated in the higher reaches owing to the heavy rain there caused the flash floods, sources said. It merges with the Teesta river in the region.

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