Video Editor: Mohd. Irshad Alam
Eight people died and at least 13 were seriously injured after a sudden flash flood wreaked havoc in the Mal river while the immersion of Durga idols were going on during Dashami, on Wednesday, 5 October.
Official sources told The Quint that there were at least 1000 people present at the banks of the river when the water level started rising around 8:30pm. At that time, several people had crossed the river to the other side. As the water level rose suddenly, many tried to rush to the main bank of the river. It was in this rush that several people were swept away by the current.
Searches were conducted throughout Thursday, 6 October. However, no missing persons complaint has been filed yet.
Speaking to The Quint, an eyewitness said that there was no water when people had initially crossed over. No one expected such an incident to happen.
My sister was holding my three-year-old daughter’s hand when we all tried to rush back to the main bank. In the crowd, she lost my daughter, and both were swept away by the current. Disaster management officials rescued my daughter 500 meters away, but my sister expired.Eye witness
The state administration had built a special immersion ghat for the very purpose, and during the process civil defense, state disaster team, police officers and other officials were present on the spot, and according to authorities, the necessary steps were taken. But locals say that the authorities were outnumbered and that this is a case of administrative negligence.
The disaster management team still managed to save at least 70 people.
Debarshi Dutta, Jalpaiguri Superintendent of Police said that no such incident has happened in the past 20 years, and all the necessary measures were taken. He added that the authorities tried their best to save as many people as possible.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee announced ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each for the family of the deceased.