23 people drowned as a mini-bus falls into Phalguni river

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Mangalore, Aug 14 (UNI) Twenty Three people, including school children, were drowned as a mini school bus fell into swollen Phalguni river at Gurupur, near here, today.

Police said that 11 bodies, including two women, three boys, four girls and two aged persons, were recovered so far and search is on for the remaining 12 people. The localists who rushed to the spot have rescued 12 people. In all 35 people, most of them school children and staff of Bhalmi School at Kaikamba, about 15 km from here.

District incharge Minister Krishna Palemar, who is on the spot at Ullaibettu supervising the rescue operation, confirmed that there were about 35 people in the school bus out of which 23 were children. Locals and expert divers managed to rescue about 12 people who have been admitted to local hospitals as their condition was critical since they were in water for more than half an hour.

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

Home Minister Dr V S Acharya, who is in Udupi to attend the KDP meeting after visiting Moodabelle where more than 47 houses have been damaged due to heavy rain and strong wind blowing and Uppoor near Udupi where over 300 houses have been marooned, rushed to the Gurupur after canceling the KDP meeting.

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

Sources said that due to strike by private bus owners some locals had also boarded the illfated bus to reach their destinations.

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

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