23 drown as mini-bus falls into Phalguni river

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Mangalore, Aug 14 (UNI) Twenty-three people, including school children drowned when a mini school bus fell into the swollen Phalguni river at Gurupur, near here, today.

Police said 11 bodies, including two women, three boys, four girls and two aged persons, were fished out from water so far and search was on for the remaining 12 people.

The locals, who rushed to the spot rescued 12 people.

Altogether there were 35 people, most of them were school children and staff of Bhalmi school at Kaikamba which is, about 15 km from here.

District in-charge Minister Krishna Palemar, who is supervising rescue operations at Ullaibettu, confirmed that there were about 35 people in the school bus out of which 23 were children.

Nearby residents and expert divers managed to rescue about 12 people and they were admitted to local hospitals. Their condition were stated to be critical as they were in water for more than half an hour.

The rescue operation was hampered due to the continued heavy rain.

Home Minister V S Acharya, who is in Udupi to attend the KDP meeting after visiting Moodabelle, where 47 houses were damaged due to rain and strong wind and Uppoor near Udupi where more than 300 houses were submerged, rushed to Gurupur after cancelling the KDP meeting.

Since the driver has been washed away in the flood water, no one knew exactly how many people were inside the school bus.

Sources said due to strike by private bus owners some locals had also boarded the ill-fated bus to reach their destinations.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, in Bangalore, announced a compensation of Rs One lakh to each of the families of the deceased.


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