Chandigarh, July 31 IANS | 2 years ago

A state government-owned luxury bus carrying at least 20 passengers fell into the Bhakra canal in Punjab early Wednesday and two bodies were recovered, police said, adding that some more people may have drowned.

The Punbus from Amritsar depot was on its way from Delhi to Amritsar when it fell into the canal around 2 a.m. close to the floating restaurant near Sirhind town along National Highway No.1 between Ambala and Ludhiana, about 50 km from here.

Fatehgarh Sahib district police chief Gurmeet Singh Chauhan said the swift currents in the canal carried the bus three km downstream from the spot where it had fallen into the water.

Police officials said they could not ascertain the exact number of casualties due to difficulty in recovering the bodies.

A spokesman of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's office said that all passengers may have drowned.

Officials said that 20-25 passengers could be in the bus at the time of the accident. While the bus was taken out of the canal in the day, only one body was recovered from inside. The remaining passengers are likely to have been swept away in the fast current of the canal.

At least 42 passengers boarded the Delhi-Amritsar bus from Delhi but some got down on the way, Punjab Roadways officials said.

The chief minister announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs.1 lakh to next of kin of each of the victims.

(Posted on 31-07-2013)