A tragic accident took place in Punjab’s Muktsar district on Tuesday when a private bus carrying around 35 passengers fell into the Sirhind feeder canal. At least 8 people died while several remain missing, feared swept away by the strong current.

The bus was traveling from Muktsar to Kotkapura when it skidded off the wet road and crashed through the railing of a bridge near Jhabelwali village, leaving the front half submerged in the water. Heavy rainfall at the time of the accident around 1 pm likely caused the slippery road conditions.

Rescue Operations Underway

Rescue teams including the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rushed to pull passengers from the hanging bus. Some villagers and passersby also helped initially before emergency services arrived. Cranes worked to extract the bus from the canal.

Several injured passengers were hospitalized while two with minor injuries were discharged by evening. Efforts continue to find missing people feared swept downstream.

The district administration has set up a control room for families to get information about passengers. Officials are also investigating if speeding or poor road conditions were factors.

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Passengers Mostly From Punjab

According to authorities, the deceased passengers were residents of Bathinda, Muktsar, Fazilka, Faridkot districts in Punjab, and Sriganganagar in Rajasthan. The bus operator New Deep Bus Service said around 30-35 people were aboard at the time.

While the exact passenger manifest remains unclear, officials estimate 11 people have been rescued so far. Eyewitnesses said many passengers escaped unhurt but did not go to hospitals. Authorities are trying to ascertain the number of missing persons based on family contact.

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CM Monitoring Situation

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said he is receiving regular updates about the ongoing rescue efforts. The district administration has been instructed to extend all assistance to victims and families.

Other officials including the Deputy Commissioner, SSP and Agriculture Minister also visited the accident site to oversee relief work. The Speaker of the State Assembly expressed condolences and said all measures are being taken for rescue and medical aid.

The cause behind the tragic accident is under investigation. Police will look into whether overspeeding or poor weather conditions resulted in the bus losing control. For now, emergency crews continue search and recovery efforts at the canal amidst grief for the lives lost.

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