Struggle for Dhaka bus rescuers

2010-10-11 10:51

Dhaka – Bangladeshi rescue workers battled strong currents and rising public anger on Monday as they struggled to locate a bus 24 hours after it plunged into a river with some 50 people on board.

The 52-seater bus lost control on Sunday morning and swerved into the river Turag, 20km west of the capital Dhaka, chief district administrator Mohibul Haq said.

"We have failed to locate the bus. It's impossible to dive into the river as the current is very strong. The river is also very deep where the bus sank," he said.

Eight passengers managed to escape at the time of the accident, but all the others are presumed dead.

"The bus was packed with people when it plunged into the river; it rolled over two or three times. Within seconds we were under the water. I broke a window and managed to swim to the bank," one survivor told local media.

The authorities have flown in a special navy diving team from the southwestern port city of Chittagong and are using metal detectors to trace the sunken bus, Haq said.

Police said at least 5 000 people, including relatives of the missing passengers, had massed on both banks of the rivers around the site of the accident.

"The relatives are angry due to the lack of progress in the rescue effort. Last night and today, thousands of people barricaded a key highway, demanding a faster search," local police sub-inspector Sunil Kumar told AFP.