7 children die as picnic bus falls into ditchOur Correspondent . Jessore
At least seven schoolchildren died and 71 others became wounded as a picnic bus carrying them headed off the road into a ditch at Chaugachha in Jessore on Saturday night.
The deceased were Akhi, 10, Suriya, 8, Shanta, 6, Mithila, 7, Shahanara, 9, Sabbir, 8 and Aakil, 7. They were student of the Gazipur Government Primary School located near the Benapole frontiers.
Eleven of the injured were admitted to Combined Military Hospital in Jessore in a critical condition. Sixty others were admitted to Chaugacha Health Complex, the superintendent of police in Jessore, Joydev Kumar Bhadra, told New Age.
Chaugacha ward 3 councillor Hasanur Rahman told New Age that the bus carrying the schoolchildren had headed off into roadside ditch as it was trying to overtake a truck near the Chandpara High school in Jhautala in Chaugachha when it was raining about 8:30pm.
The seven children died on the spot, he said.
The police superintendent said that students had gone to Mujibnagar in Meherpur for a picnic and the accident took place on way their back home.
Local people started rescue operation immediately after the incident and recovered the seven children dead. Fire-fighters later joined the rescue operation, he said.
He said the bus could not be pulled out of the ditch at night or shortage of instruments. Fire fighters, who conducted the search, however, confirmed that there had been none trapped inside the bus.
The New Age correspondent in Jessore said that the Benapole municipal mayor, Ashraful Alam Liton, had announced a three-day mourning at Benapole for the incident.
The Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha, meanwhile, reported that the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, had expressed shock at the death of the seven children in a condolence message.
She ordered proper investigation of the incident and punitive action against anyone found responsible for the traffic accident.
She prayed for the eternal peace of the departed souls and expressed sympathy with their parents, teachers, friends and family.
Earlier, 43 students of Abu Torab High School, Abu Torab Primary School and Abu Torab Fazil Madrassah and two adults died on July 11, 2011 as a pick-up van carrying them veered off the road into a roadside ditch at Mirsarai in Chittagong.
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